Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes
Toasted Garlic

Black Raspberry Cobbler


Patrick likes to forage (he'd make a good bear, I think) and a recent expedition netted him about three pints of black raspberries.

"Let's make a pie!" he said.

"Let's make a cobbler!" I countered.

"What's a cobbler?" he asked. The actual answer is that a cobbler is what I am capable of making since I cannot make pie crust (I KNOW. feel free to teach me) but I am pretty good with forgiving doughs that are intended to be rustic and ugly.

I told him a cobbler is like a pie but you can use even more sugar. He became pro-cobbler, abandoning his pie platform in the face of my compelling rhetoric.

There are a lot of ways to cover a bunch of berries. You can use biscuit, oats, cake, bread, shortcake... personally, I like to make a sugar cookie dough and just drop it on top of the fruit. Even better is to give your child the ingredients and a chair to reach the counter and let them make it while you read a magazine. So that is what I did.

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Black Raspberry Cobbler  

3 pints black raspberries (or red ones. blueberries. blackberries I suppose)
1 T cornstarch
2/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Gently combine and scrape into 9 inch deep pie plate. Heat oven to 400°. Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake about fifteen minutes until berries release juice.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t baking powder
pinch of table salt  

and set it aside. Then in a medium bowl beat

8 T butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar

until light and fluffy. Add

1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract

Beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.

After the fifteen minutes remove pie plate from oven. Stir fruit and then drop dough evenly over berries in heaping spoonfuls. Return to oven and bake (uncovered) until topping is browned and fruit is bubbly, about 35 minutes.


Patrick's berry haul was shy of three full pints so I augmented the black raspberries with leftover blueberries I had in the refrigerator. It all baked down into a nice purple mess regardless.  

Did you make it? Change it? Have a better idea? Tell me what you think in the comments.


Come to Maine and I'll teach you how to make an awesome pie crust. I can even make them with whole wheat pastry flour and they are still flaky and lovely. I don't have the slightest idea how I'd tell you how to do it in print, though.


I believe (unless they've changed their policy) that Cook's Illustrated doesn't like it when people post their recipes. They send firm letters. I think they're a little mixed up, personally, in that there can hardly be a better way to cultivate new readers, but I know that was their policy a little while ago, so you might want to...I don't know, tweak the recipe? Remove the reference? Hide? Or just be ready for the firm letter, I guess. Although maybe they don't have the energy to chase down bloggers anymore, given how tough the economy is.

Anyway, that's not why I was commenting--where's the RSS button, please? If I can't use google reader, I'll never remember to check back and I really like food blogs!

Our version of cobbler is something called a "crisp". Ingredients are 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar to taste (about 3-4 tablespoons), a bit of cinnamon if you want, and about 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Oh, and you'll need a pint or so of fruit. Mix all the dry ingredients, and squoosh in the butter with your hands until it is thoroughly squooshed in (great job for a child--okay, maybe not Edward?) so the result is nice and crumbly but sticks together when you squeeze it. Put the fruit (berries, sliced apples, whatever) in a dish, sprinkle the oat mix on top, and bake the whole thing at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until it's browner than when it started and quite bubbly all around the edges. Best served hot with vanilla ice cream.

Oh go Julia! This blog is going to be great!!

Oh THANK YOU, Sydnew. See, this is what I get for branching out beyond my usual area of expertise (uh, I guess that would be me, myself.) I shall keep a sharp eye out for C. Kimball and, in the meantime, I think I'll do a judicious tweak.

Also, RSS, check.

And thanks Kris. I'll try yours next.

Love your new blog - can't wait to see more posts! Also, I have the palate of a 12 year old, I hate "weird" stuff and I'm nearly 37 years old. I see lots of choices on this blog already, so huzzah for that! :)

Yay. My son is 4 and only at 3 reached a picky phase. My daughter is just older than 1 and already rejects many foods. So I'm excited to pick up some tips from you.

I prefer a cobbler (or crisp or Betty) to pie, generally, but I do know an ultra easy pie dough method (down there at the bottom -- it's hot water and oil -- feels and looks odd, but tastes and looks fine!):www.kretschmannfarm.com/Newsletters/2009/csaja14.htm

Curious - do you have crumbles in the USA, or is this solely a British thing? (Sort of mix of flour and butter and presumably sugar if it's a fruit crumble... all goes together into sort of little crumby bits which then makes a gorgeous texture for a topping once baked.)

I'm with Jen, I prefer a cobbler/crisp/Betty to a pie. This sounds so good, I'm going to make it tonight. I'm so excited about this new blog, Julia, great idea.

This sounds so yummy. And I love the story that goes with it.

There are two key things to understand about pie crust: you want chunks of butter and shortening in order for it to be flakey, and to have that happen it must be kept COLD and you have to be gentle when mixing it together. I make it in the food processor, easy peasy.

Here (this is basically the one from the america's test kitchen family cookbook but I tweaked it at bit.):

2.5 cups of all purpose flour, plus some for rolling the dough.
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
8 tbs veg shortening, cut into smallish chunks and chilled
12 tbs unsalted better, cut into smallish chunks then put back in the fridge to stay cold
6 - 8 tbs ice water.

put sugar, flour and salt in food processor and mix until combined. scatter shortening over the top and process until it looks like cornmeal or sand. Takes 8-10 secs. scatter the cold butter pieces over the top and use short pulses to process until it looks like coarse crumbs - transfer to a bowl. sprinkle 6 tbs of water over dough, stir and press it together against the sides of the bowl until it comes together - if it does not come together, stir in another tbs of water, or more one a time until it does. divide the dough in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.

Can you "gild" the taste of a black raspberry? Maybe not, but I always add a pinch of cinnamon and a bit of grated lemon peel when I cook black raspberries, blackberries or blueberries. (Just a pinch. Just a bit.)
Oh, and try packaged piecrust mix (B. Crock...). Use ice water, and chill it a bit after rolling out. It's not bad.

two words Slab Pie. I found my recipie at smitten kitchen...super eas pie dough, doesn't matter if it's ugly AND IT HAS FROSTING. PIE WITH FROSTING. omg.

My favorite pie crust recipe:

The name is accurate, as it has never failed me (and I have failed gloriously at many, many baked goods).

you know, I use the Joy of Cooking flaky piecrust recipe. I find that less mixing is usually the key. I use a pastry mixer/cutter thingie (kind of half-circle shaped, with a handle and wire or thin bits of metal on the bottom). I just mix baaaaaarely enough, and then it is ugly but always delicious.

I am making this cobbler tonight, though. Yum.

I do an all-oat topping like the crisp recipe above - oats, brown sugar (or light muscovado if I am feeling flush), cinnamon, dried ginger (if doing rhubarb) soft butter - rub together til it clumps slightly. I also threw in some Grape Nuts (the breakfast cereal - do you get it over there?) - then I can pretend it's healthy (fortified with vitamins and iron etc) PLUS it stays really crunchy, nice. I have moved gradually from the traditional English 'crumble' topping with all flour to the ?Amerian all-oat topping.

One real winner at the moment that I have been a convert to is rhubarb and strawberry. I cut up about 6 sticks rhubarb into 1/4inch slices, a large bowl of strawberries hulled and cut in half, two or three pieces of preserved stem ginger (plus some of the syrup if it's in the jar, the crystallised stuff is fine but you may need to add a tablespoon of water). Some brown sugar (you may need to make this dish a few times to work out how much - what a shame!) and a sprinkle of cinnamon and dried ginger. Toss together, cover with oat crisp mix (above). Make sure that it has enough butter in to clump together enough to seal the fruit in, as it needs to steam in its own juices. Don't have too much topping, about 1/4 inch thick is just enough. As you can tell I don't do measuring, as it depends on what dish I use. So, seal the fruit in, pressing down gently on the oat crisp all the way around to make a nice crust. About 40-60 minutes in a 180 degree oven. Serve with thick greek yoghurt or vanilla icecream.

All that said, from being a crumble/crisp-only gal for years, I have become a pie-making convert quite recently. II have always been a pumpkin pie girl, but that's hard work in the UK when you have to make your own filling too. Apple pies at this time of year are a cinch, and I have frozen and baggied some home-grown blackcurrants to make them a bit more interesting come winter. I make sure I toss the fruit in sugar / cinnamon etc (teeny bit of ground cloves if using apples) and a little lemon juice for a good hour before putting it in the pie crust. As for pie crust - I buy the refrigerated block stuff that isn't pre-rolled (the pre-rolled stuff has been mucked about with and shrinks too much). I cut it in half and roll a slightly smaller half for the top. Crimp the sides, paint with milk and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Stab a couple times for steam to escape. Stick on some apple-shaped pastry scraps if you wish. Bake, eat with icecream. My hands are too hot to make pastry.. that's my (valid) excuse.

Sorry. Comment over.

Ah yes - you need to chop the preserved ginger into bits for the filling. Fine or rough as you want.

A cobbler down here in Georgia is a fruit dish with the dough running through the fruit. My grandmother would put a stick of butter in her casserole dish, and let it sit in the oven while the oven preheated. Then she'd mix together 1cup self rising flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of milk. Then she'd take the dish out of the oven (with the butter melted and hot), pour the batter into it, then pour sweetened fruit (add a little bit of water and sugar to the fruit, whatever it is) over the batter. Sprinkle sugar over the top, bake it at 350 for 30 minutes or so.
Or, you could do it the same way and use a pre-mixed muffin mix (I like the wildberry for cobbler crust). It's good that way, too.

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