Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rosy Blackberry Cobbler

Packed with summer-fresh berries, sliced peach, and rhubarb, this cobbler features a silky buttermilk topping. Two lemons' worth of zest marries happily with the fruits, transporting you to a sun-dappled orchard in which you romp through brambles, mouth stained with purple. I made this cobbler after a berry-picking expedition at Homestead Farm in Poolesville, Maryland.




1 stick butter
2 lemons

4 cups blackberries
2 peaches, thinly sliced
2-3 stalks rhubarb, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
dusting of grated nutmeg
dash or two of cinnamon
dash of ground ginger
3 Tbsp cornstarch

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
dash or two of cinnamon
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk


Preheat the oven at 350.

Get out a 9 x 13 baking pan. No need to grease!

Melt the stick of butter in a small saucepan. When mostly melted, with one thin rectangle bobbing in its golden bath, remove from heat. The rectangle will vanish into its hot tub.

zest both lemons, producing a tinselly heap. Cut one of the lemons in half.

Toss fruit into a large bowl. Add the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cornstarch. Toss with hands to combine. It's going to be glorious! Add half the lemon zest and half the melted butter. Toss some more. Oh yes!

Pour the fruit into the baking pan, spreading it so that it's even.

In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add the other half of the lemon zest. Pour in the butter and buttermilk and fold into the flour. Batter will be slightly lumpy. No overmixing!

Spread the batter over the fruit. In typical Toppled Chef style, I scooped and spread it with my bare hands. It worked out pretty well.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and top is golden brown.

Pull out and let cool on a wire rack. I'd eat this the next day for breakfast, but you can always serve hot with a scoop of ice cream.



  • For the flour, I used 1 cup white and 1 1/2 cups white wheat, with a healthy shaking of flax, which is why you see speckles in the photo. You don't have to be this granola. However, any combination of flours should work. The butter and the buttermilk will ensure a tender crust.
  • Likewise, you can use any combination of fruits. I happen to love the earthy blackberries jazzed with rubescent stalk fruit and mellowed with peach, but blueberry-strawberry-nectarine would be just as good.
  • What kind of cobbler is this? It isn't a cakey cobbler, where the dough rises through the fruit, but the topping isn't quite a biscuit topping, as it's too runny to form mounds. It's more of a lazy fruit pie with a biscuity slump on top. This works for the Tipsy Crumpet!
  • Note that the knife test doesn't work to test doneness. I pulled the cobbler out of the oven after 30 minutes because the knife came out clean. The next morning, my heart sank as I spooned out a wad of fruit clumped with undercooked batter. It was edible, but I had to put the cobbler back into the oven for another HOUR to get it to an acceptable level of non-rawness. This did the trick, in case the same kitchen pratfall occurs to you.
  • Some people like a sugary cobbler. Not I! The 1 1/2 cups of sugar in this recipe go toe-to-toe with the double whammy of lemon zest and a heap of rhubarb. If you like your dessert to feel more like a slap on the face, this is the one for you.
  • This makes a delightful Sunday breakfast.



4 stars. Quite good, if you like your cobbler topped with a tender crust and filled with the textures, scents, and colors of summer.

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