September 16, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

I make one blackberry cobbler a year. Just one. I've been tasting blackberries all summer long and I kept rejecting them as Not Good Enough ~ blackberries truly are a late-summer fruit! A week ago, I finally happened upon a batch of blackberries at the store that tasted like a blackberry should taste. Sweet and puckery at the same time.

My cobbler recipe comes from the only dessert book I ever use, pretty much. 'Country Desserts' by Lee Bailey. I've mentioned it over and over and over on the blog. It's an out of print book that is SO worth seeking out. It's glorious, with beautiful pictures, and it's just the type of cookbook that deserves to be in your family forever.

I've been meaning to write a Top 5 Favorite Cookbooks post for ages and ages now! This book is in my Top 5.

Which isn't to say that I slavishly follow every recipe to the letter. If Mr. Lee Bailey were in front of me right now (sadly, I believe he has passed away) I would have a debate with him on the issue of using flour as a thickening agent.

Yes, this is an issue.

He thinks so too, and goes on at great length upon the matter, deciding in favor thickening agent.

He just doesn't like it. He likes juicy pies and cobblers and he likes the purity of the ingredients without flour.

I HAVE TO DISAGREE. I've made this recipe without flour and I kid you not, the thing was swimming in 2 cups of blackberry juice. Once I poured out nearly all of the juice, it was awesome, but I was also losing sugar by pouring out all of that juice.

I just don't like my pies and cobblers overflowing with juice. I like the pieces to hold together somewhat. I don't think it needs to have too much thickener, but I do think the dessert does not benefit from drowning in juice.'s really up to you I guess. You can leave out the flour, but things are going to be messy. I would put in a few tablespoons of flour to give some body to the juices and hold things together somewhat.

I respect Mr. Lee Bailey with all of my heart but I part ways with him on this Very Important Topic. Another note: my husband loves crust. LOOOOOOOOOVES it. So I doubled the crust recipe (that's a LOT of butter, yo!), but it's not really needed, I don't think. The crust recipe as it's laid out in the book is really grand and I personally think it makes enough crust. It's supposed to be a fruit dessert, not a crust dessert.

I should just make crust and spread jam on it, that would make Mr. Andrew super happy. I did double the crust for the cobbler you see in these photos.

BLACKBERRY COBBLER (adapted from 'Country Desserts' by Lee Bailey)

Ingredients for Pastry Dough:

1 and 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, frozen
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, frozen (i cut the butter and shortening into cubes and bits, and then stick them into the freezer on a plate for 10-15 minutes.)
4-5 tablespoons ice water

(the entire recipe for the pastry can be doubled, if you like a LOT of crust)

Ingredients for the Fruit Filling:

6 cups fresh blackberries, washed and drained
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits
sugar for sprinkling, or crushed sugar cubes
whipped cream or ice cream


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Have ready a 9-inch round ovenproof dish that is 2 or more inches deep.

Combine the flour, salt, and frozen shortening and butter in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the mixture is rough textured. Add the water slowly, and process until the dough begins to cling together. Gather into a ball and place between 2 sheets of wax paper, flattening the ball slightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a large ragged circle about 15 inches in diameter. Then roll the dough up onto a rolling pin and unroll the crust over the baking dish and line the bottom and sides, allowing the excess crust to drape over the edge. Mix the sugar and flour into the berries, let sit for 5 minutes. Mound the fruit mixture into the crust and dot with butter pieces. Bring the pastry crust up over berries; it won't quite cover the fruit, but use any pieces that have fallen off to patch. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a bit more extra sugar or some crushed sugar cubes over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 6-8.

It's great cold too, and I would chill it in the fridge if you have leftovers, so that the crust doesn't turn mushy. Lee Bailey's believes in tender crusts and they are really the best, but you gotta eat them quickly or refrigerate the leftovers.

There is something so....seasonal, late-summery, and old fashioned charming about this dessert! I like to pour cream over it as well. Cream or ice cream with the tartness of blackberries is TRULY MAGICAL.


  1. Oh, this looks delightful. I'm with you on runny pies. Fruit pies really should gel up a bit, otherwise they're just too messy.

  2. YUM. I love blackberries so much. Really, they are my favorite berry. I should make this. I made a triple-berry crisp this summer, but I'm a bit alone in my love of crisps. I must need my oats. The rest of the household would prefer a cobbler or pie. Berry season is ending, so berries are often marked down at the store. Perhaps I will make this soon!

    1. my grandma once made a blackberry pie from berries she picked off the side of the road. it was the most magical thing I had ever tasted and i've never ever forgotten it!

  3. Fantastic repice! I love crust too and flour!!! I need to try this! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. totally my pleasure! i'm on a mission to let the WORLD know about this book. :)

  4. Drooling. You've left me drooling.

    1. go wipe your mouth and make yourself some cobbler! i also have a peach cobbler on the blog that's from the same book.

  5. This is soooo gorgeous. It looks more like a pie, especially with the double crust, doesn't it? I'm going to find this book right now!

    Allison from