Saturday, August 13, 2011

blackberry-lime cobbler

finally we are at the height of blackberry season. every day i go outside with a container and come back with it filled to the brim with dark knobbly berries that seem to exude juice when you brush against them or even just look at them sternly.

sadly, the generous and giving nature of the berries themselves is in direct contrast to the malevolence of the vines on which they grow. i know it's silly and that they aren't actually evil, but it sure feels that way when they reach out to grab my wrist or tear my sleeve. i need some of those dorky renaissance faire chain mail gauntlets like they use for falconry or whatever.

until then, the suffering is worth it anyway because the berries are spectacular. as long as i'm careful to get the ones that are truly ripe, they are the sweetest, juiciest blackberries i've ever had. there are so many that it can be daunting to deal with them all, but i've been freezing some and the dogs have discovered them and gobble them off the vines themselves, so that helps (and has the side benefit of being super-cute).

for anyone else lucky enough to have this "problem," this cobbler is a fine way to use a few cups of fruit as well. the rich blackberries combine well with tart lime and the soft biscuit-y topping and the whole thing cries out for some vanilla ice cream to finish it perfectly.

first turn on the oven to 375. then gently gently combine about 4 cups of berries (or other fruit - cherries would be nice in this, too) with 1/2 cup sugar (or less or more, depending on how sweet your fruit is - this made for a not-too-sweet filling, but the berries were extremely ripe), the zest of one lime, juice from 1/2 - 1 lime (start small and add more if you like), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and perhaps 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

you can use more cornstarch if you want the filling to be thicker and more pie filling-y, but i think it makes it sort of gummy sometimes so i tend to err on the side of adding less. also, the juicier the filling is, the more delicious it is when it combines with your melting ice cream and you lick it out of the bowl at the end. um, not that i would ever do that.

after you oh-so-gently prepare the filling (i just do it in the baking dish - fewer things to wash!), mix the cobbler topping. for this i combined 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder, then used my fingers to add in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter. to do this, just cut the butter into small cubes, then use your thumbs and fingers to kind of rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse crumbs (as in the picture above). i'm sure there's a video or something on this somewhere if that's confusing.

then add 1/2 cup plain yogurt. i didn't use greek yogurt this time, but if that's all you have, i would maybe do part yogurt and part milk so it isn't too thick. mix as little as possible - just until the dry stuff combines with it (you don't want to make it tough). the texture is like a thick muffin batter or a wet bread dough.

then you dollop it onto the filling - i made pretty large dollops, perhaps like 2 1/2 inches in diameter, but they could definitely be smaller if you want. just do whatever looks pretty to you. i also like to sprinkle them with a little coarse raw sugar to make them sparkly and add a little crunch, but this isn't strictly necessary.

put it in your preheated 375 oven and bake until the dough is golden brown and your kitchen smells divine. this took about an hour, but i would check it more regularly after 45 minutes or so.
the topping bakes into something like a cross between dumplings and biscuits - more biscuity on the top and more dumplingy on the bottom where it cooks in the blackberry juices. the blackberries kind of melt into themselves and combine with the lime and vanilla to make this fragrant syrupy concoction that will have you burning your tongue repeatedly as you use a spoon to try to sneak a taste.

as good as the cobbler is by itself, i really think the ice cream part is important here. it doesn't have to be ice cream, though - just something creamy and cold to play off the warm fruit and topping. coconut milk ice cream, for instance, would be lovely. also, although this is still very good the next day, it is really best to eat it when it's still a little warm from the oven.

berry part
4 cups berries
1/2 cup (to taste) sugar
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 - 1 lime
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup yogurt

ice cream


  1. Exude juice when you look at them sternly- i love the way you write. And I'm so pleased I stumbled over here from Orangette. Sifting through your archive with a cup of tea has been perfect escapism. Thank you!

  2. thank you so much for the kind words, tori! i'm glad you like it - i've been enjoying doing it.