Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blackberry Cobbler

I have an outdoor shower and you probably don’t

I’m not rubbing it in, it’s just a fact. In fact, it wasn’t even my idea. The previous owners installed it (in an act of shear and utter brilliance).  It’s not typical home renovation speak like kitchen counter, walk in closet, jetted tub, garage or a yoga room. 

I’ve been using the outdoor shower a lot lately because it’s warm and I’ve been working in the garden a lot.  When I work in the garden, well, imagine your dog rolling in a thick mud puddle, and well that’s me at the back door, and Sharon handing me a towel and wash cloth, one hand on her hip the other pointing to said outdoor shower (head shaking left to right)

(What’s up with that?)

I love it though.  Open air showering with four bumble bees.  They like the sugar magnolia.  They must have also liked me because the five of us were definitely showering together and I didn’t mind.  It’s not like I was showering with wasps or hornets.  You have to really mess up to get stung by a bumble bee, kind of like picking a fight with Mr. Rogers. If ole Fred cold cocks you in the nose you probably have it coming to you.

All this showering is a result of a lot of gardening. Well, let’s say digging, tilling and mulching because I honestly can’t garden my way out of a wet paper bag.  I’m trying. In fact, I’m really trying hard because blackberries and raspberries are kind of on my bucket list.

That which I carry in my murse (man purse). Yeah I have one. I have to.  How else am I to tote around my laptop, ipad, two iphones, and tic tacs?  We live in a different world now.

What’s not different that in so many years of planting berries is that I have not a half a pint to show for it.  That is about to change, because this week, I did this.

Impressive.  I got the idea off the internet, which means it probably won’t work. Those are blackberries, and my life goal at the moment is that this turns into a high yielding berry producing shrub that is the envy of the neighborhood.  That or it produces more than a half a pint.

Oh well. What I can’t do in the garden I can more than make up for in the kitchen. I am going to share with you a recipe from the My (and Vincent’s) Metropolitain. There seem to be more versions of cobbler than barbecue, though significantly less tension as to which is best. Seriously, if we ever have second civil war, look to barbecue as the reason North Carolina attacks Virginia.  Let’s stay focused here.  This version is what I would call an elegant cobbler, meaning it will impress your guest at a dinner party.

Here’s the lineup and it so easy. One half  pound each of the following:


Why is everyone shaking their heads?  Oh yeah, weight. We Americans can’t seem to handle it be it in a recipe or on our asses.  

Here’s the measured version.

2 sticks butter ( a pound) room temp
1 ¾ cup almond ground ]( find a food processor or blender, grind them to flour like)
4 eggs
1c sugar
2c flour

Use your kitchen aid or hand held blender, cream the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs one at a time, let them incorporate (not like a business, more like an emulsion)

Add the ground almonds, mix thoroughly, then the flour. Don’t over-mix the flour, just incorporate it( again, not like a, nevermind)

You should have a buttery, sweet paste which I will now refer to as goop .  Now, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread this goop onto the papered baking sheet.

STOP! Here’s a tip before you start pulling your hair out trying to spread this. Take a spoonful of goop, put in each corner under the paper. Do it for all four corners. It should act like glue.  Now proceed with spreading the goop evenly across the pan. They’ll be some wrinkling of the paper here along with some cussing, but relax, we’re baking here, not landing the Mars Rover.

Bake at 375 for twenty minutes.  Let cool at room temperature for about an hour.They should look like this.

Now for the berries. 

1 ½ cups sugar
¼ c water
4 cups blackberries ( Fresh, frozen thawed)

  For the berries, add the sugar and water in a saucepan.  Have a cooking thermometer handy.  Cook the sugar until it reaches around 240 degrees. Throw the blackberries in and turn off the heat.  Give them a quick stir. Done.

Now, let assemble our little beauty.  Use a cookie cutter to cut the biscuits.

Spoon some of the blackberry mix onto the plate, top with a biscuit, and then either ice cream or whipped cream.  Serve.


  1. The dough tastes great, but the finished product is about a quarter-inch high. There should probably be some leavening in the recipe?

    1. Paul,

      No. I realize this cobbler is not traditional. We came up with this recipe, which is similar to what the French call frazipane. It's more like a cookie. We needed something that would hold over a couple days as opposed to the traditional biscuit dough which breaks down over time.


    2. Thanks for the reply, Tim. The "cookie" tasted great, as did the finished cobbler, though I'm still wondering why mine came out so much thinner than yours in the picture. Given that the dough won't really rise without any leavening, maybe I should just use a smaller baking pan so the dough is thicker to start with if it's to look like yours in the end.