Brown Sugar Berry Cobbler

Berry cobblers are an old and revered tradition in this family (I’m sure it has nothing to do with our name), and link us back to the days when my husband’s grandmother and her mother –in-law before her made their renowned cobblers from the wild blackberries that grew along the creek of their mountain home in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The cobblers were a treasured staple of the old hotel that my husband’s great grandmother ran in those mountains in the early 20th century. 

Through the years, we made many a trip over those old mountain roads for family holiday parties and Grandma’s cobblers.  And like a member of the family themselves, those cobblers were always waiting on the counter next to her wood stove when we arrived.  Over time, she taught me to make them, and though simple and rustic, it is, and always will be, the family favorite.

Grandma's cobblers always had a pastry crust, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, when it comes to cobblers and cobbler toppings, I am definitely not monogamous.  There is plenty of room in my culinary life for as many variations as I can possibly find.  And this is one very scrumptious variation.  I used a mixture of blackberries and fresh blueberries, but you can use any berry you like in this.

I’m not sure I would have ever thought to mix brown sugar with the berries in one of grandma’s cobblers, but I think she would have liked this.  The brown sugar imparts a richness to the fruit that I thought was rather elegant and nicely balanced the tartness of the berries.

The topping is a traditional cobbler biscuit which we really loved, but you probably could have put a stale piece of bread on top of those berries and it would have tasted good.   It really doesn’t need it, but a little whipped cream or ice cream makes this quite a heavenly summer dessert.  We may have liked it even better the next morning at breakfast, but you can decide that for yourself.

Brown Sugar Berry Cobbler

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe from Gourmet

Serves 6

Note:  I halved the recipe and it came out great.  I went ahead and made a full recipe of the topping, though, because I didn't want come up short.

3/4 to 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar (depending on sweetness of berries), divided

2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

8 ½ cups (2 ¾ lbs) mixed berries (strawberries trimmed and halved if using)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup whole milk1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Stir together 3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add berries and toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a shallow 3-qt baking dish and bake until mixture is hot, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and blend with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Add milk and stir until dough just comes together.

Remove baking dish from oven and drop 12 mounds of dough onto hot berries. Stir together remaining tsp brown sugar and granulated sugar and sprinkle over dough. Bake cobbler until topping is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to warm, about 30 minutes.

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