Cobbler with blackberries

Blackberry Cobbler: Welcome Summer With This Classic American Dessert

With Memorial Day weekend 2017 in the history books, it’s officially summertime. In the South, that generally means an abundance of blackberries and desserts that make use of this tarty fruit. The Farmers’ Market in Wichita Falls, Texas, this weekend celebrated Blackberry Day and visitors got to celebrate with some free blackberry cobbler according to the local CBS station, KAUZ-TV. It’s likely many cities and towns across the U.S. have had, or will have, similar celebrations as the days get longer, the weather warms up, and blackberry bushes become heavy with fruit.

Blackberry cobbler is a staple at most community gatherings and home kitchens. Of course, no one can completely agree what exactly makes a cobbler a cobbler. At its simplest, a cobbler is sugared fruit under — or mixed with — a crust. Depending on the recipe it may be closer to a cake or a pie, served warm or cold, plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Blackberry is far from the only flavor; in fact cobbler makers frequently mix and match with other fruits of the season, like peach and blueberry.

The history of the cobbler is likely close to that of American history itself: born out of a resilient spirit. Blogger Joe Pastry reasons the original recipe was a bit of a compilation of whatever ingredients were available to early settlers: biscuit dough and fruit in any form baked camping-style in a Dutch oven. What’s Cooking America echoes this idea, calling early American settlers good improvisers who would modify the recipes they brought with them from other parts of the world with whatever the American landscape happened to offer.

In those early days, cobbler was not always the sweet treat after the main meal. It was often eaten for breakfast or even as the main course of an evening meal.

Southern Living is a fan of the blackberry cobbler because it is an easy dish to make. Once you’ve gathered some blackberries — that can mean heading to your local grocery store, but if you are extra lucky, a farmers’ market or bushes in your own backyard — you need only add five more ingredients to make a crust. Southern Living‘s recipe is perhaps the easiest you’ll find, if you don’t already have a pioneering baking instinct or your own formula scrawled on the back of an old cookbook. Here are the ingredients:

4 cups fresh blackberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

6 tablespoons of melted butter

Spread the blackberries into a pan and sprinkle with lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and egg. Cover the berries with the flour mixture and then drizzle the melted butter over the crust. Cook in a 375-degree oven for 35 minutes and you’re done! You can serve it warm, as is, or topped with whipped cream or ice cream. The recipe is so simple it’s something you can cook almost on the spot if you have last-minute guests or family on their way to enjoy a relaxing summer evening.

If you like your cobbler closer to a cake than a crumble, check out Pioneer Woman‘s recipe. She opts for milk instead of an egg and creates a batter into which she mixes the fresh blackberries. Meanwhile Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate uses the same base ingredients — milk and margarine, no egg or butter — but gives you the option of using frozen blackberries if you don’t have any fruit growing in your backyard. It comes out of the oven somewhat cake-like, but with a thicker crust than the recipe offered by Pioneer Woman.

Ready for summer? Why wait — go make some blackberry cobbler!

[Featured Image by Stephanie Frey/Thinkstock]

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