Cygnet Brown graduated magna cum laude from Argosy University. She is an author of twelve books and a long-time gardener.
How Yummy Is This?
Pick Blackberries: A Traditional Late Summer Ritual
Making fresh blackberry cobbler is when made with freshly picked berries to topped with a dish with ice cream or whipped topping. I enjoy making blackberry cobbler so much that it has become an annual late summer ritual at our house.
The entire experience of making fresh blackberry cobbler starts with picking fresh berries. On the day that I want to make a fresh blackberry cobbler, I go out in the morning. Blackberries ripen during the hottest part of the summer so I get up and out of the house early before the heat of the day. I then don what I call blackberrying clothes. Blackberrying clothes consist of a flannel shirt over a tea shirt, jeans, thick socks and sturdy boots. I then cut a hole in a milk jug to make a hands free berrying container and then I slip it onto a belt that I fasten around my waist. Even though it is hot, there are several reasons to dress this way. First, the wild blackberries I pick have thorns that once they grab hold, really hurt. The second reason is chiggers. Chiggers are at their peak during blackberry season and I am particularly vulnerable to them. Finally, it is possible to run into a snake in the blackberry patch and even a nonvenomous snake can strike when frightened. By putting sturdy material between me and a frightened snake is never a bad idea.
Once dressed, I am ready for blackberry picking. I always know where to pick my blackberries because I spent time earlier in the spring to find where the best patches are. Blackberries are biennial plants and they bloom every other year. I look in the early spring for blackberries that are in bloom. If blackberry briars were cut down the previous fall, the briars will not bloom and produce any blackberries. However, since blooming blackberries always produce berries, I know that blackberries that are in bloom in the spring will give me berries when I am ready to pick them.
When picking blackberries, I avoid blackberries that are next to the road because they are the ones that were most likely to have been sprayed. In addition, I tend to pick along dirt roads and dust from the road often covers the berry plants. Besides, berries along the road are not always the best, so by getting a little deeper in the patch is always a the better choice.
When I have a full gallon of berries and my milk jug won't hold any more, I have enough berries to make my cobbler. Once home, I remove my blackberry clothes at the door, and have my daughter check me for ticks before I do anything. Once I have checked for ticks, I take a shower and treat any scratches from the blackberries and any chigger bits that I do get with straight vinegar. It will sting now, but it will prevent incessant itching later. After I am dressed in more comfortable, cooler clothes, I am ready to begin preparing the berries for the cobbler.
Blackberry Cobbler Cook Time
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 15 min
Preparing the Blackberries for the Cobbler
The first step in preparing the berries for cobbler is to wash them. If bought from the grocery store, a quick rinse is about all you will need to do. With frozen blackberries, you can skip this step all together. However, if you pick your berries from a wild patch like I do, You will want to remove any obvious debris from the pail, then pour the berries into a pan of cold water. Any leaves or harbored insects will float to the top. Pour off the water and the debris that floated to the surface, then fill with water again. More debris will surface. To this a couple more times to remove anything that is not the blackberries that you want to eat. When you feel that you have cleaned out all the debris, pour the blackberries into a colander to drain all the excess water.
After washing your berries, add one cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and two tablespoons of corn starch to the berries. Put berry mixture aside while you make your pie dough.
Ingredients for Blackberry Cobbler
- 1/2 Gallon Blackberries, fresh picked, fresh from the grocer, or frozen
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- 2 cups White Flour, For flaker crust, sift before using
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2/3 Cup Shortening or Lard
- 4 Tablespoons Water, Ice Cold
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 9x9 Inch Baking Pan
Making The Cobbler Dough
The history of blackberry cobblers and other types of cobbler can be traced back to the late 1800s. When I was growing up in the Northeast, cobbler was made like an upside down cake with the thickened fruit on the bottom covered by a biscuit dough and baked. When I moved to Missouri, however, a cobbler was more like a blackberry pie except that it was sometimes made in a square or rectangular dish.In this recipe, we are making the cobbler the way that we do here in this part of Missouri.
Mix together flour and salt, then cut in 2/3 cup shortening or lard. For best results, make sure that you have mixed the flour, salt and shortening thoroughly so that you won't have to mix as much after you add the water. Finally add ice cold water, the colder the water, the better your crust will be. Gather dough together and press it into a ball.
Putting the Blackberry Cobbler Together
- Preheat oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide the pastry dough in half. Round up the first half onto a lightly floured board covered with wax paper. Lightly dust dough with flour
- Flatten with hand, roll out to not quite 1/2 inch thick. Work quickly and roll lightly. Do not add extra flour or you will get tougher pastry dough.If it breaks apart, pinch broken edges together.
- Roll out pastry to about one inch larger around than the pan you are using. Fold the pastry along with the wax paper in half and quickly move dough to pan. Unfold pastry and remove wax paper. Fit pastry around the side of the pan. If the dough breaks, Pat broken edges with water and pinch dough into place.
- Pour berry mixture into pan,
- Dot (distribute tiny pieces) of butter over the top of the filling. Moisten the edges of the crust with water
- Roll out top crust of pastry the same way that you rolled top crust. Fold in half and lay evenly over top of filling. Unfold.Press down edges of top onto edges of bottom crust.
- Cut away excess dough, sprinkle top of cobbler with cinnamon sugar
- Place pan on a cookie sheet and cobbler into oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.
- Best served warm, not hot and with ice cream or whipped topping
© 2013 Cygnet Brown
Cygnet Brown (author) from Springfield, Missouri on September 14, 2013:
That cobbler WAS good! The next one I make will be good as well!
Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on September 14, 2013:
So much to learn here. I did not know that in different areas of the country the crust moves from the top of the fruit to the bottom! And your tips for avoiding chiggers and then treating any bites are quite useful. That cobbler looks good enough to eat.