Tag Archives: blackberry cobbler

Blackberry supper

BLACKBERRY SEASON is making me a little nostalgic. Blog-nostalgic, that is (though I still think blog is a particularly ugly word), as I wrote my first post on Toby’s Kitchen Notes nearly seven years ago, toward the end of berry season, with my recipe for Blackberry Cobbler No. 8.

It seems hard to believe I’d made eight versions of blackberry cobbler in 2009, but I did, along with some other must-have fruit desserts. This year, as I write, it’s just the beginning of blackberry season, and the other day I had a couple freshly picked pints on hand. I really wanted to bake something with them — but not a dessert. Aha — it remembered Nigel Slater’s marvelous recipe: Blackberry focaccia.

blackberry foccacia slice

Blackberry focaccia has only a hint of sweetness, from sugar sprinkled atop the dough.

Half the recipe would be plenty, I figured, as there were only two of us eating it, and it doesn’t keep well for leftovers. (I wrote of this before, so the recipe is here.)

blackberryfoccin progress

The yeast dough is easy, but does need gentle handling, especially when you fold in half the berries after the first rising. The rest of the berries are strewn on top; then, it rises again and you drizzle olive oil and sprinkle demerara or sparkling sugar on top.

blackberry foccacia

Once out of the oven and cooled just a bit, you can sprinkle with confectioners sugar if you like.

We had a choice: ruin our appetites by devouring the focaccia immediately or wait a few minutes, make a green salad, and call it supper.

saladandslice BF

We chose the latter — and it wasn’t a sacrifice. Calling it supper gave it a certain sense of legitimacy, if not outright virtue.  (More nutritious than pancakes with syrup for supper, anyway.) And yes, it was delicious. I plan to repeat this combo!

1 Comment

Filed under baked goods, bread and pizza, fruit, Praise for other cooks, salad, summer, Uncategorized

August fixin’s

pasta and vegAUGUST REMINDS ME of my childhood: the sticky hot humid days in Chicago, barely relieved by the big swamp cooler in the basement. We had no air conditioning and my two sisters and I slept in an upstairs attic-type room, catching what little breeze we could from the open window and a fan. A thunderstorm was an evening’s entertainment:  From our screened-in back porch, we’d listen to the thunder, watch the streaks of lightning and smell the oncoming rain.

But best of all, August meant we would pack up the car (I always had a case full of books) and leave the city for a rented cabin in Ephraim, Wisconsin, or South Haven, Michigan, where we’d swim in Lake Michigan (Yes, we did that at home too, but here it was even better) and eat fresh peaches and blueberries, corn and tomatoes, trout and smoked whitefish, and bakery white rolls. And cherry pie.

Wherever you are, fresh produce is abundant this month, and dinner doesn’t have to be salad. On these lazy days, I love to center an August meal around corn on the cob. Or potato and green beans in a vinaigrette. Or cherry tomatoes, as in the photo above, roasted (or sauteed) with some garlic and oil and sprinkled with basil, to dress a pasta. With a side of green beans with lemon zest, and a simple salad with beets (dressed in another vinaigrette) and hazelnuts, it was a light but satisfying meal that didn’t take long at the stove.

blackberry cobbThis kitchen blog began in 2009 with Blackberry Cobbler No. 8, a recipe for the eighth version I had made of blackberry cobbler.

This week my daughter and I picked  blackberries (it’s been unusually hot here so it’s almost end-of-the-season) for a cobbler and decided that the No. 8  version is still hard to beat, with very tender biscuits with a touch of cornmeal. There’s not too much sugar in it, and a dollop of ice cream on the warm cobbler will suit it just fine.

3 Comments

Filed under dessert, fruit, musings, summer, supper time, vegetables

Tried and true: Blueberry Boy Bait

It’s not often that I feel justified eating cake for breakfast, but with some out-of-town family and friends dropping by in the mornings this past month, I’ve had the perfect chance to make a lovely fruity coffee-cake with an amusing 1950s name: Blueberry Boy Bait.

In 1954, the cake won second-prize in the junior division of a Pillsbury baking contest, contributed by a 15-year-old girl.

A couple years ago, Cooks Illustrated had a revised recipe for this cake, and I made my own changes to the Cooks’ recipe, cutting down on the sugar, adding lemon zest and more blueberries. I posted the recipe on this blog about a year ago, but it’s worth repeating.

A generous layer of blueberries on top of the batter forms a delicious jammy topping

Blueberry Boy Bait

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 13 x 9″ pan or two square pans or pie pans.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1. Cut the butter into the flour and sugar with your fingers until crumbly, with some pieces the size of peas. Reserve 1/c cup of this mixture.

2. Add baking powder, lemon zest, salt, egg yolks and milk to the remaining flour-sugar-butter mixture and beat with a mixer or whisk until well blended.

3. Whip egg whites until they hold 2-inch peaks. Fold them carefully into the batter, and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.

4. Sprinkle the blueberries on top of the batter so they cover much of the surface; then sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture.

5. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake bounces back. Place cake pan on a cooling rack for 20 or 30 minutes; serve warm or cool.

Speaking of the tried and true, I’ve made a couple versions of a blackberry cobbler I developed a couple years ago — and that reminded me that one of the first posts I wrote on this blog was about the eight blackberry cobblers I’d made in the summer of 2009.

Blackberry cobbler #8 was the winning recipe

Blackberries are in season now and we’ve picked so many we have scratches all over our arms and legs and stains on our clothes. I’ve put them in cornbread and scones, made blackberry jam, blackberry crisp, blackberry sauce,  and more than a few cobblers.

Blackberry Fool

I even tried making a blackberry fool one time when I had a little cream on hand, and it was very good.

Just picked

In fact, we are just about satiated with blackberries!  Still, it’s really nice to have a bowl of fresh berries around for snacking and adding to the morning granola. And you never know, I just might make one more blackberry cobbler this year.

You can make the cobbler with any kind of berries, and it wouldn’t hurt to add some peaches too — peaches and blueberries are always nice together.  (I haven’t had enough peaches this season to do anything other than eat them without adornment.)

Last time I made the cobbler,  I used the coarser polenta cornmeal and it had a nice crunch to it. But either way it’s a good, homey dessert. (And you can indulge a little after that light supper of corn and salad — see previous posts.)

For dessert with a dash of ice cream. If there's any left over in the morning, berry cobbler makes a dandy breakfast.

Berry cobbler

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

  • 5 to 6 cups berries (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Mix above together in a 10-to-12″ Pyrex pie plate and bake the berries (without the dough) for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the dough:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  1. Mix the above in a bowl; then cut in 3 Tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the butter is the size of corn kernels (more or less). Stir in about 2/3 cup of cold buttermilk, just until thoroughly moist. Don’t over-stir.
  2. When the berries are bubbling hot (after the 30 minutes), drop mounds of the dough on top in various places. Use a big spoon for this.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes or so, until the dough is golden
  4. Let the cobbler cool a little on a baking rack; then serve warm, with ice cream if you please.

Blueberry Boy Bait and Blackberry Cobbler make it seem like it’s still summer.

Oh, wait a minute — it is still summer!

Thanks to our neighbors, Dick and Kay Porter, for the glorious dahlias that do indeed "beautify the neighborhood."

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Blackberry cobbler No. 8

My baking was better than my drawing....

My baking was better than my drawing....

It’s nearly the end of blackberry season here, so we picked some blackberries and I made Blackberry Cobbler No. 8 — yes, I’ve made eight of these this summer! I think I am finally getting the recipe down pat….

Blackberry cobbler nearly half eaten

As soon as it had cooled enough to eat, we gobbled up nearly half of it.

It’s great with a little ice cream (or lowfat version of same).

Amazing that it has very little sugar and not too much butter either….(as compared to pie, for example).

Did you know that goats will eat blackberry bushes, thorns and all? Goats have tough, bony palates which enable them to chew up almost anything.

Here’s an interesting article about goats and blackberries:

I adapted the cobbler recipe from one in Cooks Illustrated. They had a great method of baking the berries till bubbly before you drop on the dough… However, I thought their version was a little heavy on the dough, so I reduced the amount. Plus, I substituted cornmeal for part of the flour.

Berry cobbler

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

  • 5 to 6 cups berries (any kind)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Mix above together in a 10-to-12″ Pyrex pie plate and bake the berries (without the dough) for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the dough:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  1. Mix the above in a bowl; then cut in 3 Tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the butter is the size of corn kernels (more or less). Stir in about 2/3 cup of cold buttermilk, just until thoroughly moist.
  2. When the berries are bubbling hot (after the 30 minutes), drop mounds of the dough on top in various places. Use a big spoon for this.
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes or so, until the dough is golden
  4. Let the cobbler cool a little on a baking rack; then serve warm, with ice cream if you please.

After we ate our fill, I still had some blackberries left, so I made a couple jars of blackberry chutney. Chutney is basically a kind of vinegary, spicy jam — and there are endless variations to the basic formula. So I cooked the berries (and a couple of Asian pears I had around from a tree at our place) with brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, a little hot pepper, some mustard seeds I’d popped in a little hot oil…..etc.

chutney

My freezer is packed full of blackberries (I thaw a few at a time to eat with yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, fall and winter) and there’s some blackberry jam in there too. A couple of jars are waiting for my daughter Aviva, when she returns from the East Coast. She missed the blackberries here. Well, there are still some left on the bushes, but they’re getting kind of small and mushy so now you get scratched and stained with berry juice when you pick them. I’m leaving the rest of my share for the goats.

7 Comments

Filed under baked goods, dessert, fall, fruit, summer, Uncategorized