Berry

Our Best Blackberry Cobbler

by:
May 22, 2020
9 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

A cobbler is not the same as a crisp, crumble, buckle, betty, or grunt. It’s a fruit-based dessert topped with cookie, biscuit, or cake batter, arranged and baked in a way that resembles cobblestones. (Peek our explainer on the differences here.)

All-purpose flour makes for a biscuit that’s sturdy enough to stamp into clean-sided rounds, but tender enough to break apart with a spoon. Work the shaggy dough with a light touch and keep the rounds in the freezer to ensure the finished biscuits are as flaky as can be. Cultured butter has a tangy, almost cheesy flavor that gives the sugary biscuits and berries a much-welcome backbone. If all you have is plain and unsalted though, your biscuits will be very much OK.

The filling, as is, is not too sugary, allowing the berries’ natural sweet-tartness to shine through. If you taste your berries and find them not-so-flavorful, bump up the sugar in the filling by 1 to 2 tablespoons. As for frozen versus fresh berries—go for what makes sense seasonally and economically. Fresh and out-of-season berries will be more expensive (and worse, mushy or off-tasting) than those frozen at peak ripeness. Serve with a globe—or two!—of vanilla ice cream for dessert, or with a dollop of yogurt for breakfast. —Coral Lee

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes 1 9-inch cobbler
Ingredients
  • Biscuit cobblestones
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime zest (from 1 medium lemon, or 2 to 3 limes)
  • 1 stick (113 grams) cultured unsalted butter, cold and cut to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 grams) heavy cream, plus more for finishing
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, plus more as needed
  • Filling
  • 1 1/2 pounds blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (from 1/2 a medium lemon, or 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Luxardo or almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon rose or orange flower water (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and zest together with a fork in a large mixing bowl. Plop in the butter pieces and, working quickly with your hands, toss the pieces in flour and smush each into a thin chip. Add the heavy cream, and bring together the dough into a shaggy mass using a flexible bowl scraper. Cut into quarters, and stack the pieces atop each other. Press down to flatten, roll to 1/4-inch thickness, and stamp out circles using a 1-inch round cutter. Freeze the circles while you prepare the filling.
  3. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl, toss to coat well, then transfer to a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Level out fruit, then top with the frozen biscuit rounds, nestling them together like cobblestones. Brush each biscuit with a thin wash of heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  4. Set the skillet onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until golden brown and burbling, about 1 hour longer. Let cool only slightly before serving with ice cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Olivia Noel
    Olivia Noel
  • Coral Lee
    Coral Lee
  • Sandra L.
    Sandra L.
  • Amy
    Amy
Coral Lee is an Associate Editor at Food52. Before this, she cooked food solely for photos. Before that, she cooked food solely for customers. And before that, she shot lasers at frescoes in Herculaneum and taught yoga. When she's not writing about or making food, she's thinking about it. Her Heritage Radio Network show, "Meant to be Eaten," explores cross-cultural exchange as afforded by food. You can follow her on Instagram @meanttobeeaten.

21 Reviews

Sandra L. November 30, 2020
Loved this recipe! We used a 11-inch cast iron and 6 packs of blackberries - 36 ounces total. I added half the sugar the recipe said because I wanted to taste the flavor of the blackberries. We had extra pastry dough left and ended up tossing it out - but you could totally re-use this dough to make little biscuits. We couldn't find the rose or orange flower so we added up orange extract and it was delish!!
 
Author Comment
Coral L. November 30, 2020
Hi Sandra! Orange extract sounds delish, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!
 
Olivia N. June 5, 2020
Having read some reviews first and having quite a bit of experience with pastry, I would call this recipe (with tweaks) a solid cobbler. I wouldn't call it a "best cobbler" in its current form given a few issues – if someone were to follow this recipe to a T, I suspect they would be frustrated at certain moments. The dough was indeed very wet. I didn't bother rolling it out on the counter but instead put it between two sheets of parchment, which at least made things tidier. The time to prep the blackberry filling was not sufficient to firm up the dough, as suggested in the recipe, though I still managed to get some near-round pieces of dough and finished by dropping some on. I also only used roughly ⅔ of the dough (rolled out to the correct thickness – I measured), which covered almost the entire surface of my cobbler. Of course, leftover dough isn't a horrible problem (freezes great for a future mini cobbler), but it's what stops this recipe from being a "best" in my book.
 
Author Comment
Coral L. November 30, 2020
Hi Olivia! Thanks for sharing your experience—all great notes here. I've updated the recipe to call for the blackberries by weight, not volume; I hope this helps, and thanks again for trying this recipe!
 
Amy June 2, 2020
Flavor was great! Balance of filling to biscuits was off for me - too many biscuits. I saw a comment about 7 cups of blackberries but the recipe above says 4 1/2 cups. Maybe I should have used 7? I just added more fresh blackberries -- and basil -- to the finished product. Very tasty! Thank you.
 
Author Comment
Coral L. November 30, 2020
Hi Amy! I've updated the recipe to call for the berries by weight, not volume. 1 1/2 pounds of berries is, as you suspected, closer to 6-7 cups. Glad to hear you were able to adjust on the fly!
 
Amy June 2, 2020
Flavor was great! Balance of filling to biscuits was off for me - too many biscuits - but I just added more fresh blackberries -- and basil -- to the finished product. Thank you.
 
Amy June 2, 2020
Flavor was great! Balance of filling to biscuits was off for me - too many biscuits - but I just added more fresh blackberries -- and basil -- to the finished product. Thank you!
 
James H. June 1, 2020
7 cups of Berries, any idea on how many ounces, or grams that maybe. Reading David’s review, sounds like it’s over 1.5lbs but less than? Thanks for your help.
 
Mixed2020 May 28, 2020
This looks just like the recipe from Brown Sugar and Bourbon... down to even some of the pictures. I've made it before from Ryan's site and it is amazing. Seems like you were inspired by her... if so, I hope you give her credit.

brownsugarandbourbon.com/features/blackberrycobbler
 
candace May 29, 2020
Really a very different recipe, other than being a fruit cobbler. The Food 52 recipe has very little sugar in the filling whereas the brownsugarandbourbon recipe is very sweet. And the biscuit toppings are different -- cream vs buttermilk etc. There are probably many blackberry cobbler recipes that would look similar in photos -- I know I have many in my summer dessert folder. The photos in brownsugarandbourbon are gorgeous. That extra sugar makes for a nice juicy cobbler. Personally, I think the sugar amount should be somewhere in between these two recipes. Being able to compare different recipes is why it's fun to collect several and then adjust to your own taste.
 
candace May 29, 2020
It is also quite unusual how thinly this cobbler dough is rolled -- 1/4". I've never seen that a before, and frankly my dough was too sticky to roll out like that. Mine were more like 3/4" and they were tender and fabulous!
 
David S. May 30, 2020
I agree. These are very different cobbler recipes, when comparing cobbler recipes :)
 
Mixed2020 May 28, 2020
This looks just like the recipe from Brown Sugar and Bourbon... down to even some of the pictures. I've made it before from Ryan's site and it is amazing. Seems like you were inspired by her... if so, I hope you give her credit.

brownsugarandbourbon.com/features/blackberrycobbler
 
David S. May 25, 2020
This will be a two part review with a couple of notes. Part (1) The sweet biscuits on top are perfect. They roll out perfectly and are just flakey. Part (2) The filling with the addition of the teaspoon of kosher salt was TOO MUCH. I had to toss the entire cobbler. It really overpowered the dish. Notes... Used 1.5 lbs of blackberries, which was less than 7 cups of blackberries, but filled the pan perfectly. I will definitely make this again, but leave out the salt.
 
candace May 26, 2020
I wonder if the salt was supposed to be in the topping?
 
Author Comment
Coral L. May 27, 2020
Hi David! Candace is totally right—the salt got bumped to the wrong category. Glad to hear you're making it again regardless—hope you'll enjoy the revised version!
 
David S. May 29, 2020
Thank you! That would make total sense. Will retry this weekend.
 
candace May 29, 2020
Thank you so much for correcting the recipe! Some recipe sites never seem to read the comments and never correct errors. You were right on top of it!
 
mal A. May 25, 2020
7 cups of blackberries ?!
 
Author Comment
Coral L. May 27, 2020
Hi mal! This is definitely a recipe to be made if and when berries are bountiful—and I stress, frozen berries are more than welcome here.