Posted by: A Part of the Solution | July 24, 2010

Black and Blueberry Cobbler

I have already expounded on fresh blackberries with créme anglaise in this blog. And I’ve done so for all the right reasons. The simplicity and sheer satisfaction of the dish are hard to beat. Sometimes however, one wants a berry recipe less dependent on tricky technique and more able to work as a substantial dish at breakfast, tea or as a sturdy dessert after one has had a light, salad-y dinner. This recipe manages those roles to a tee.

In the Mid-West, cobblers are baked with the fruit poured over the batter. During the baking time, the fruit sinks into the batter, leaving streaky trails of fruit juice in the cobbler, and leaving the top slightly divoted–like the sand when a wave has just pulled back and all the oysters are digging down. In the Deep South, cobblers are deep dish and most often covered with a drop biscuit batter, or even a rolled sweetened biscuit dough. Neither of those methods is my personal favorite.

By the time I’ve fought bugs, poison ivy and brambles to get my berries, I’m looking for something special and slightly out of the ordinary. Equally, I’m not in the mood for a lot of fuss in assembling the dish–since I already expended so much effort in the picking and sorting of the wild berries. Enter the cornmeal cobbler.

This cobbler is a combination scone-cornbread-shortbread topping. It’s crisp on the top and has a nice edge of crunch through it which contrasts beautifully with the silky texture of the cooked berries. It’s light, since I use soured milk for the  liquid. It’s a little sweet, but not so much as to compete with (or make banal) the berries under it. It’s rich without becoming a leaden lump in the stomach. In fact, it’s awfully close to perfect. If I do say so myself.

Black and Blueberry Cobbler

2 1/2 cups blackberries (or 4 cups and none of the blueberries)

1 1/2 cups blueberries (or 4 cups and none of the blackberries)

1/2-3/4 cups of sugar–depending on how sour your berries are

1 tsp cornstarch

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cornmeal (I like toasted yellow best, but use what you have)

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

4 TBSP butter

1 1/2 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease and 8″ x 8″ pan. Combine the first four ingredients, tossing lightly, and pour them into your prepared baking pan. Pour the milk over the vinegar. Stir together until thoroughly combined the dry ingredients. Work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until there are no pieces of butter bigger than a petit pois. Beat the egg into the milk mixture. Pour this over the dry ingredients. Stirring very few times, incorporate the wet mixture into the dry. Pour and spread this over the berries in the baking pan. Cook for 40-50 minutes, until the top is a rich, crusty brown and berry juices are bubbling up furiously all around the topping. Allow to cool ten minutes before diving in.

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