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Monday, May 26, 2008

Berry Cobbler

Last summer I picked over 60 pounds of Marionberries and blackberries! I made a few batches of jam and froze the rest to use in smoothies, pies, crisps, pancake topping and cobblers like this one. Fresh or frozen berries work equally well, but be sure to drain frozen berries after thawing. I like to add the juice to lemonade.

8 cups Marionberries, blackberries or blueberries (or any combination)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 fresh lemon (you will need 2 teaspoons juice and the zest, finely grated)
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
6 ounces (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) whipping cream or evaporated milk
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove zest from the lemon (I love my Microplane metal rasp) and set aside. Juice the lemon and measure out 2 teaspoons. Stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add the berries and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Transfer to an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish and keep hot in the oven while you prepare the biscuit dough.

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a large medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir together the cream or milk and the egg to mix well, then gently toss with the dry ingredients until all the flour is moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, press together and knead lightly 10 times. Roll out 3/4 to 1-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. (Of course, you can skip the kneading and rolling and just drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the hot berries!) Place biscuits on top of hot berry mix, brush lightly with cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar. I like to use a coarse, light brown Demerara sugar for topping cobblers and pies.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until berry juice is bubbling and biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature by itself or with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

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