8.16.2010

Very Berry Blueberry Cobbler

An aunt of one of my closest friends has an amazing high-bush blueberry field that her family planted with the hopes of opening a you-pick business. When insurance and other logistics squashed those plans, they were left with massive blueberry fields filled with plump fruit every year. It's the end of peak and the bushes still look like this:
We picked for less than an hour and easily had twenty pounds of blueberries. We had so many berries that freezing them on trays and in deep roasting pans had to be done in shifts because they couldn't all fit in the extra stand-alone freezer! Even with all those berries I want to go back for more. Berry picking is just one of my favorite summer activities.

I usually hate to bake recipes that use vast amounts of the fruits of my labor, but last night as I surveyed the pans full of berries on the counter waiting for their shift in the freezer, I decided to whip up a very berry blueberry cobbler, inspired by several I've seen around the 'net. When a big bowl of berries like this doesn't make a dent in the supply, using six cups in a recipe seems justified.
This cobbler is inspired by Smitten Kitchen's peach blueberry cobbler and is delicious. The lemon adds a certain zest that balances the sweet of the berries so nicely. Quick, go get some berries before the season ends; I promise you won't be disappointed.

Very Berry Blueberry Cobbler
serves 6

prepare the berries
6 cups fresh berries, washed (or frozen)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
juice from 1/2 to 1 fresh lemon depending on size (I used slightly more than half of a large lemon and also scraped in the pulp)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the berries by gently tossing the above ingredients in a two quart baking dish - I used a deep pyrex dish, but any 8 or 9" pan will do.

prepare the biscuit topping
1 cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose if you don't have any on hand)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (up to 2 T more if you want a sweeter topping)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter, chopped in pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients and cut in butter with your fingers until uniformly crumbly. Slowly add buttermilk, stirring with a fork or rubber spatula until the dough is sticky and wet, but not runny. Do not over mix. You may not need all of the buttermilk. If you add too much, throw in a few additional tablespoons of flour.

Drop the biscuit topping by heaping spoonfuls at random over the berries, you want the berries to show through in places and the entire dessert to look deliciously messy.

Bake for 20 - 35 minutes depending on the depth of your pan, until the top is golden brown and when the biscuits are cooked in their centers when you lift the edge of the biscuit slightly with a spoon. Cool slightly, if you can bear to, before serving. We couldn't bear to wait and thus have no finished photos of the dessert. As with most hot berry desserts this pairs well with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

It's also delicious the next day for breakfast, you know, topped with more berries.

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