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Blackberry Cobbler

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A blackberry cobbler in a skillet with a serving in a bowl with vanilla ice cream.
Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Tiffany Schleigh

There are as many styles of cobbler as there are cooks: ones topped with pie crust or biscuits, others dotted with floury dumplings. This old-fashioned blackberry cobbler recipe takes an easier route. To make it, you melt a stick of butter in a cast-iron skillet, pour a quick batter into the hot pan, and then scatter the top with juicy fruit. The recipe comes from cookbook author Virginia Willis, who grew up picking fresh blackberries with her grandmother, Meme, but you can make her easy recipe with store-bought fruit. Fresh berries are best, but if frozen blackberries are all you have, defrost them in a strainer set over a bowl or the sink to catch the excess liquid, and add a pinch of lemon zest to the blackberry mixture to brighten their flavor (boil the juices down to a syrup, accented with a bit of lemon juice, to spoon over the baked cobbler). You can also swap in sliced peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, raspberries, blueberries, or a berry mixture. The only fruit to avoid is strawberries, which will make the top of the batter too soggy.

“To cobble means to hastily throw together,” Willis writes of this summer dessert. When the batter hits the hot pan, it will immediately start to puff, so work quickly. Bake until the cake-like cobbler topping is golden brown, then cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Spoon your homemade blackberry cobbler into bowls with vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream. Reheat leftovers in a 350° oven for 8–10 minutes, or enjoy them cold, straight from the fridge.

This recipe was adapted for style from ‘Bon Appetit, Y’all’ by Virginia Willis. Buy the full book on Amazon.

Recipe information

  • Total Time

    1 hour 10 minutes

  • Yield

    6–8 servings

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups fresh blackberries (about 24 oz.)
1 cup plus 2–4 Tbsp. (225–250 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream, to serve

Preparation

  1. Step 1

    Place rack in center of oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter in a 10" cast-iron skillet or a 13x9" baking dish in the oven, 5–7 minutes.

    Step 2

    Place 4 cups fresh blackberries (about 24 oz.) in a large bowl; mash about half the berries with a potato masher to release some of the juices. Add 2–4 Tbsp. (25–50 g) sugar (if the berries are very sweet, add less; if tart, add more) and toss to combine.

    Step 3

    Whisk remaining 1 cup (200 g) sugar, 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium bowl to combine, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup whole milk and 1 tsp. vanilla extract; stir with a wooden spoon or rubber scraper until evenly blended.

    Step 4

    Remove baking dish from the oven; pour melted butter into batter and stir to combine. Pour batter into baking dish and scatter blackberries and their juices on top of batter. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the batter comes out without any batter attached, about 1 hour. Serve, hot, warm, or at room temperature, with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or ice cream.

    Photo by Travis Rainey, Food Styling by Tiffany Schleigh

    Editor’s note: This recipe first appeared on Epicurious in December 2011 as ‘Meme’s Blackberry Cobbler.’ Head this way for more easy summer desserts

Cover of Bon Appetit, Yall by Virginia Willis featuring a serving of corn souffle.
From Bon Appétit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories From Three Generations of Southern Cooking, © 2008 by Virginia Willis. Reprinted by permission of Ten Speed Press. Buy the full book from Amazon or Abe Books.
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