Sunday, June 21, 2020

Blueberry Cobbler

bowl of blueberry cobbler a la mode

Recipe by Robin

Fruit cobbler recipes vary quite a bit. Fruits can be single or combined, spiced or not. The fruit layer’s liquidity can be adjusted with cornstarch or flour. Biscuit dough can be loose and fluffy, or firm enough to cut into shapes for a more formal look. Reveling in our short California blueberry season, I chose an ultra-lightly spiced all-blueberry fruit layer. I then topped the blueberries with a medium-density biscuit layer smoothed out by a buttermilk brushing before baking. Resulting in a soft-textured topped blueberry-centric cobbler that plays well with or without ice cream.

blueberry cobble a la nothing
Serve with Cream or Naked in its Own Glory
Because I was going for tradition, I used the classic blueberry enhancers: lemon juice and zest plus nutmeg. In the amounts I chose, neither flavor could be specifically detected in the finished product. If I wanted a spice-noticeable version, I’d double the amounts. Cornstarch yields a firmer layer than flour, and I used the maximum recommended amount. Reduce it by half for a more liquidy layer, for example if you’re serving the cobbler with ice cream.

I like buttermilk for cobbler biscuits, though cream or milk can be employed. I also add a bit of baking soda to the baking powder, which combines with the buttermilk to make a light, fluffy topping. I like adding a salt and a dab of sugar for extra flavor. Brushing with buttermilk before baking smoothed the biscuit top and ensures a beautiful golden brown top. For a rougher, crunchier biscuit top, eliminate the buttermilk and sprinkle with large-crystal raw sugar instead.

It’s the height of summer fruit season! Enjoy this recipe as is, or adapt it to your favorite fruits, flavors, and textures. Add herbs, vanilla, or balsamic vinegar to the fruit, or get crazy with some nuts, chocolate chips, or spices in the biscuits. Have fun experimenting—there are no wrong cobblers. Worst-case scenario: serve it over ice cream and say, “I meant to do that.”

blueberry cobbler with whipped cream
Plays well with Whipped Cream
Blueberry Cobbler
serves 8 - 10

Fruit layer:
6 cups blueberries
¼ cup white sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Biscuit layer:
1½ cups flour
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk

buttermilk for brushing
1 tbsp. raw sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a stick of butter in the freezer to chill.

Pan of baked blueberry cobbler and two serving dishes
Rinse and pick over blueberries. Blot off excess water with paper towel, or shake off in sieve, or allow to dry. Place blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Combine gently with your hands, mixing horoughly, till cornstarch looks evenly distributed.

Turn blueberry mixture out into and 8” x 11” baking pan. With a rubber scraper, remove all remaining liquids and solids from the mixing bowl and distribute over the blueberry layer. Rearrange individual blueberries if necessary till layer height is more or less uniform. Set baking dish aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt till uniform. Remove butter from freezer and mark 1/3 cup on the stick. Using a box grater or cheese grater, grate 1/3 cup of chilled butter. Stir butter into the flour mixture till thoroughly combined. (Alternatively, you may use more traditional methods of cutting in butter to the size of mung beans). Pour in buttermilk and stir till just until batter comes together.

Spoon batter over the blueberry mixture so that it is evenly distributed but blueberries peek out from between batter dollops. Smooth batter slightly to flatten it and cover blueberries more (but not completely). Brush batter dollops with buttermilk. Sprinkle buttermilk with raw sugar.

Bake in preheated 375 degree F. oven about 45 minutes, until blueberries are bubbly and top is golden brown on top. Cool for an hour before serving. 

blueberries, lemon, sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch
Step 1: Prep Berries
Topping ingredients: flour, butter, buttermilk
Step 2: Make Biscuit Topping
blueberry cobbler right before baking
Step 3: Spoon Biscuit Topping over Blueberries
Pan of blueberry cobbler with some already eaten
Step 4: Bake and Dish Up
blueberry cobbler a la mode
Step 5: To Top, or Not to Top? Your Choice

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