My family has spent many summer vacations on Cape Cod, in a cottage on a pond near some now-defunct cranberry bogs. Those bogs, long since non-working, became conservation land a few years ago and have been reverting to their original marshy state as sluice gates rust through and the water flows back in; they're full of frogs and cattails and slime, and all those good things. But in those golden years when the bogs were sitting uncultivated but still mostly drained, they proved to be the perfect place for blackberry brambles to thrive. We would head to the bogs with a bunch of tupperware and come back loaded with enough berries for a pie or two (and probably poison ivy, as well, but the berries were worth it!) These days, there's only one little corner where the brambles haven't been flooded over, so we never get enough berries for a full pie, but we can manage a cobbler once a summer if we stretch the berries with sweet summer peaches. It's simple and sweet and deliciously summery; to me, this is the essence of August.
This cobbler is best, of course, with wild berries (if you're in a place where copious blueberries can be found, they'd be great here) but supermarket berries will always do in a pinch. That's the wonderful thing about baked fruit concoctions: the cooking brings out the best in mediocre fruit, and a multitude of sins can be covered up with good, fluffy biscuit topping.
The biscuit recipe was adapted from an old edition of the Joy of Cooking; the fruit mixture was all trial and error over many years of blackberrying adventures. —summersavory
- Makes an 8x8 panful
- Fruit filling:
wild blackberries (or store-bought black or blueberries)
sliced ripe peaches
1/4 to 1/3 cups
sugar (or to taste)
- Biscuit topping:
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons
unsalted butter (up to 4 tbsp if you want a richer dough)
2 tbsp whole milk
- First, prepare the fruit. Wash the berries well and remove any stems and adventurous bugs. Wash, pit and slice the peaches. If you like, you can peel the peaches first by blanching them for 2 or 3 minutes, removing them to an ice bath, and then rubbing off the skins gently; then pit and slice as usual. I don't tend to peel peaches for cobbler, since it's rustic sort of affair, but if you have an issue with peach skin, go for it.
- Toss the fruit, gently, with the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Feel free to add any other spices you like; my sister is a big fan of ginger with peaches. Set the fruit aside while you make the topping. Now would also be a good time to preheat the oven to 375 F.
- To make the topping, mix the dry ingredients together, and rub or cut in the butter as you would for any type of short pastry: using your fingertips, two knives, a pastry blender, or even a food processor, combine the flour and fat until you get "pea-sized bits" of butter. Add the milk and stir gently until the dough JUST comes together-no need to be too enthusiastic.
- To cobble everything together, pour your fruit and all its juices into an 8x8 (or 9x9, not a big deal) baking dish. Pull off lumps of biscuit dough and arrange them over the top of the fruit; they shouldn't cover the whole top like a crust, just dollop them about somehow. Bake your cobbler in that 375 F oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the fruit is completely bubbly and the biscuit bits are brown. Serve hot (with a few minutes' cooling so you don't burn your mouth!) or warm, perhaps with some whipped cream or ice cream-or just plain. (I absolutely advocate cobbler for breakfast, by the way. yum.)