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Friday, June 7, 2013

Blackberry Cobbler

One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh produce.  You get strawberries, green beans, corn, blueberries, cherries, and of course blackberries.

When I was little, my Nana would can and freeze vegetables and she made her own jams and jellies (and apple butter, yum) and we would have delicious homemade goodies all year round.  She canned green beans and tomatoes, froze fresh corn off the cob and fried okra, and made blackberry jam and apple jelly.

After she had all of the blackberry jam in jars and divided among the family, Nana would use the rest of the blackberries we had picked to make dumplings or cobbler.  I preferred dumplings because the blackberries were run through a sieve to get the seeds out, but Mom absolutely loves blackberry cobbler.

In fact, I think my whole family does.  I know it's one of Grandpa's favorites, and I've seen Aaron eat an entire pan by himself.  I never knew how to make it so we used to buy them frozen.

A few years ago I took a trip up to Kentucky to visit a close friend who had moved back home with her parents to open a bakery.  She was working out of their massive and well-equipped kitchen and she had a large catering order that weekend.  She said she needed help with it, but really I think she just wanted to see me.  I'm not complaining.  I wanted to see her too.  I missed her like crazy.

She said she would pay me for helping with the food, but I told her all I wanted was a blackberry cobbler to take home to Aaron.  It was the first homemade cobbler he'd had since we met and even though I didn't make it for him the sentiment was the same.  He raved about it and insisted that I learn to make cobbler, so I did.

I found the recipe on Annie's Eats for a blackberry cobbler with a biscuit type crust.  I made it last summer for Aaron's family one Saturday night and it has been my go-to cobbler recipe ever since.  Last weekend I even made a peach cobbler using the same crust recipe and it was magnificent.

You can make this with fresh or frozen blackberries.  I've made it both ways and they are equally delicious.  The only problem I have ever had with this recipe is that the juice from the berries never quite thickens as much as I want it to, but the flavor is the spot on so I'm not complaining.

Blackberry Cobbler

6 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp corn starch
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with vegetable oil spray.

In a large mixing bowl combine the blackberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Toss them together and set aside.  In a small pinch bowl combine the lemon juice and corn starch.  Mix well and pour immediately over the berries.  Toss again.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 Tbsp of the sugar.  Stir briefly to combine.

Add the vegetable shortening and butter and work into the flour with your hands or a pastry blender

until it looks like coarse crumbs.

In a liquid measuring cup combine the egg and milk and mix well with a fork.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir gently with the fork until just combined.

Mix the berries once more and then pour into the prepared baking dish.

Take small bits of the dough and flatten with your hands and layer the top of the berries with them.  Once the berries are covered sprinkle 2-3 Tbsp of sugar over the dough.  Bake in the 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20-30 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

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