Black &Sweeet!

Published 4:24 pm Wednesday, May 14, 2008

By Staff
Blackberry season is in full swing and I'm getting a hankering for some good old-fashioned blackberry cobbler.
With road building, clear cutting and progress in general, blackberries are getting harder and harder to find. I haven't been able to locate a good patch of blackberry bushes lately, but I'm constantly on the search. If you've seen the price of blackberries in retail businesses, you'll know why I'm looking for a bush or two.
Frozen blackberries are certainly very good, as are canned ones you'll find on the shelves in the store. But, we all know the fresh ones are just better.
If you've been lucky enough to find some blackberry bushes, you may want to try some of the recipes I've found this week.
The first recipe is one that would make Paula Deen, or any good Southern cook, proud. With plenty of sugar and cream cheese in this recipe, it's sure to be a winner. The baking mix in this recipe is basically Bisquick. Use any type of baking or biscuit mix you prefer.
Blackberry Dumpling Cobbler
2 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen blackberries (or four cups fresh blackberries)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose baking mix
3/4 cup uncooked oats
Bring blackberries, 1 1/3 cups sugar and butter to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring gently until butter is melted and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add milk and beat until smooth. Stir in baking mix and oats. Spread two-thirds of the cream cheese mixture (about 3 cups) onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon the blackberry mixture evenly over the cream cheese layer. Drop remaining cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls over blackberry mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
I'm getting hungry just thinking about that recipe. If you take the time to bake that one, be sure to let me know how it turned out. I'd even take a taste if you want to drop some by the office.
This next recipe is for an old-fashioned type cobbler recipe. This one is very similar to the kind my grandmother used to fix for Sunday dinner. She always used to sprinkle a little extra sugar on the top crust for extra sweetness.
Blackberry Cobbler
4 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. to 4 tbsp. cold buttermilk - or ice
1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine
1 tsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour the blackberries into a 2-quart casserole dish (about 8 by 8 by 2 inches), or a pan of equal size. Add the water. Combine the sugar and flour in a small bowl. Stir to mix. Sprinkle over the berries. Dot with butter.
To make the crust, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. This can be done quickly in a food processor, but you can also use a pastry blender or two knives. Add the buttermilk or ice water a tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Cut the dough to fit the top of the berry filling or cut into strips and make a lattice crust.
Brush the crust with the melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the juices have started to thicken. This will probably take an additional 15 to 20 minutes. As the pie cools, the juice will get thicker.
For some reason, my mother always refers to a cobbler as a pie. I think there is a substantial difference, but when the taste is as good as the “pie” she used to make, I'll take it no matter what you call it.
If you're looking for an easy cobbler recipe, try this next one. It's as close to the kind my mother used to make as I can remember. It's a lot like the cobbler recipe that Truvy discussed in “the” southern movie, Steel Magnolias. You know the one: a cup, a cup, a cup.
Mama's Blackberry Pie
1 stick butter or margarine
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup
1 cup milk
Place stick of butter in a two-quart casserole dish and place in a 350 degree oven to melt. Mix vanilla, flour, 1 cup sugar and milk until well blended. Once butter has melted, remove dish from oven and pour in berries. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar directly over berries. Pour batter over berries evenly and return to oven for 45 minutes until crust comes to top and is golden brown.
I'll tell you right now, the only thing that would make this blackberry cobbler any better is to top it with a little whipped cream or maybe a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
These recipes certainly take me back to a time when blackberries were growing on anything that didn't move beside every country road in the county. I'm glad to see progress in our area, but I certainly miss the blackberries.
I hope you get a chance to try some of these recipes on your own. I will tell you that these recipes are great with just about any kind of berry. Since blackberries and raspberries are so closely related, raspberries make an excellent substitute.
Remember, as always, if you have a recipe or tip that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear from you. You can give me a call at 867-4876, drop by the office at 407 St. Nicholas Ave., or drop me a line by email at I promise to give you credit for your submissions.
Until next week, happy cooking.

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