Berry Cobbler

mixed berry cobbler

For something like 40 years, my grandparents hosted a neighborhood barbecue on the Fourth of July. The party was a multi-generational affair, with gangs of little kids running around, and my father or an uncle manning the grill. There’d be a buffet set up outside in red and white checks or crêpe paper bunting, and my grandfather would orchestrate a right-at-dusk fireworks display in the backyard. Every year, a neighbor would bring a big sheet cake dressed up in blueberries and raspberries to look like the flag.

So for the holiday weekend, I wanted to bake something nostalgic and homey to celebrate, something as Rockwell-Americana as my grandparents’ party. Americans have a long-standing tradition, since colonial times, for baked fruit desserts with colorful, old-timey names: buckles and grunts and bettys, slumps and cobblers and crisps. With a shortcake-like, flaky-crumbly-sweet biscuit topping and juicy fruit filling, cobblers might be my favorite: rustic, unfussy, easy to throw together and utterly delicious. This recipe adds just enough sweetness to soften any tart edges and enhance the berries’ flavor; swap out ripe-but-firm peaches, pitted and sliced, for another traditional take on the theme. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and have a very happy Fourth of July!

Berry Cobbler
adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsay Remolif Shere, 1985; serves 6

for the berry filling:

  • 3 pints mixed berries (raspberry, blueberry or blackberry)
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp granulated tapioca (optional; substitute another 1/2 Tbsp flour instead)

for the cobbler dough:

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute more all-purpose)
  • 1/4 tsp + healthy pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 6 Tbsp butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 C heavy cream, cold

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the berries with the sugar, flour and tapioca in a large bowl. Let stand while you make the dough.

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. With a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarsely ground cornmeal. (If you use your hands or your kitchen is warm, pop the dry ingredients into the fridge; you can do this up to a day ahead.) Pour the cream overtop and use a fork to toss and lightly mix all together until just moistened.

Pour the berry mixture into a 1.5 qt gratin or baking dish. Lightly form little patties of cobbler dough, without smushing them too much. (Crags and cracks are okay; you want to avoid overworking the dough, which creates a denser topping.) Aim for roughly 2 – 2.5″ diameter and 1/2″ thick. Arrange on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the topping browns nicely and the berries are bubbly and thick. Serve warm or room temperature with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can use any berries except for strawberries in this recipe, which are too soft. Buy a pint of heavy cream and use what’s left over to make whipped cream for 6 people.

About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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11 Responses to Berry Cobbler

  1. Rachel Knauss says:

    YUM! Thanks for coming out last night and for sharing your delicious cobbler:)
    Happy 4th and congratulations on all the happy changes that are coming for you and your man.
    XO, Rachel

  2. Père says:

    I miss that bbq. It rained so many 4th afternoons when I was manning the grill that I started bringing a change of clothes!

  3. Pam says:

    Changes?? Are these things the general readership should know??!! In any event, Happy 4th! Fruit desserts are my favorite, and the cobbler looks delicious!

  4. Jeff says:

    Amazing! That looks like one amazing dessert. With a side of icecream? I’d be one of the happiest guys out there!

  5. This sounds so good. I love the first photo where you can look down into the juicy goodness of the berries below. This is one nostalgic dessert that definitely stands the test of time.

  6. susie king says:

    Made it tonight – fantastic!! That bbq actually went on for 50 yrs and generations of kids in the back yard – lots of good memories – great and easy dessert!

  7. SFmatt says:

    these photos are incredible. i just licked my monitor.

  8. Pingback: Buttermilk Dressing | scarpetta dolcetto

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