Berry

Our Best Blackberry Cobbler

by:
May 22, 2020
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 (about 4 1/2 cups) frozen or fresh blackberries
  • 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.

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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.