Happy Labor Day! It is day full of beaches, pools, grills, eats, drinks, family and friends. Most of the United States celebrates this day as the end of summer. Here in the South, it means NOTHING though. Today will not end summer. Summer will be with us in all her hateful glory for weeks, months and possibly through Christmas.
In addition, she often decides to invite her friend, Hurricane Season, along for the ride. Awesome.
It is what it is though. I suppose we should be used to it, but for some reason I always feel hopeful September 1 that it is going to be different this year. Nope. Never different.
So I have the A/C cranking and will embrace summer and all the luscious things that come along with it here in the South — namely fresh blackberries.
Now, you can buy blackberries at the grocery, but I prefer to be a true Southern kid and get out and pick the free ones. I’m blessed with family land and as long as you can get out before Weed Spray Day happens, you can often pick as many blackberries as you can carry. Unless you are picking with my sister and she sees a snake, because at that point, you are done picking for the day. I didn’t get out this year to pick (the grass was really high and I will publicly say I hate a snake, but actually, they scare me too — and I don’t want to hear that they are more scared of you than you are of them, because I have NO TIME for a Mr. No Knees in my life). BUT, I found a frozen bag of berries the other day when I was cleaning out my freezer. So, Blackberry Cobbler!!!
Blackberry Cobbler is this amazing concoction of berry juice, dumplings, crust and either ice cream or whipped topping. There is nothing health conscious about it, but it is oh so good as a treat!
The first step is to make a crust. Now, I prefer to make mine from scratch and I honestly thought I was using one that was The Pioneer Woman’s and it was exactly as she has it published, but I can’t seem to find it on her website, so maybe I made some changes. I do that alot…like most of the time…
Now, the key with this crust is that you need to do it the day before so it has time to chill overnight. You CAN use store bought crust (*shudder*), but this is super easy and you can do it!!!
First, gather all of your room temperature ingredients and equipment: flour, salt, vinegar, an egg, a bowl, a spatula or wooden spoon, a pastry cutter and plastic wrap. You will also need some shortening and unsalted butter, but those need to stay cold.
Start out by placing 3 cups of all purpose flour and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix slightly. Working quickly, remove butter and shortening from the fridge and cube. Try to not touch either item too much, you don’t want the warmth from your hands to break them down. Using the pastry cutter, work the butter and shortening into the flour until the mix resembles course crumbs.
To your flour mixture, add 5 TBS of COLD water, 1 well-beaten egg and 1 TBS of vinegar. Using your spatula or wooden spoon mix this until it is all combined. You might find at the end you need to use your hands to fully incorporate everything. That is fine, but again, work quickly and try to limit how much you touch the dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Gently shape into a disk, place in the refrigerator and chill overnight. EASY!
The next day, take your blackberries – about 2 pints – and place them in a large sauce pan along with 1 cup of sugar and about 1/2 cup of water. Stir the mixture until coated. Turn the heat to medium and allow the berries to come to a simmer and release their juices and break down. At this point, I smoosh and strain my berries because I don’t like the seeds, but if you don’t mind them, then just use them as is.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. While your berries are simmering, grab a dough disk along with some flour, a rolling pin, a knife and a well-sprayed casserole dish or Dutch oven. Place one of your dough rounds on a well-floured, clean surface. Dust the top with a little more flour and roll to about 1/4″ thick. Again, you need to work quickly or the butter and shortening starts getting sticky. Don’t panic if this happens, just add a little more flour and work fast. Cut the dough into squares and gently place them into the boiling berries. This will become the yummy “dumplings” in the cobbler. Allow this mix to bubble away while you prepare the crust.
Next, take the remaining dough round and place it on a well-floured surface. Flour the top and roll it out to about a 1/4″ thickness and roughly in the shape of your prepared dish. Carefully pour the berry and dough mixture into the prepared pan. Place several pats of butter around the dish.
Gently fold the crust over the rolling pin and lay over the top of the berries and dumplings.
Trim off any edges that are overhanging the dish and cut several vent holes in the crust.
At this point you can slightly sugar the top of the crust, but I don’t usually do so. There is no need to brush the crust with milk or egg since it has so much butter and shortening. Place the whole thing in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. I also bake the trimming scraps and have them as a snack while I’m waiting for the cobbler to cool enough to eat!
Once the cobbler is golden brown…
…remove it from the oven and allow to cool for a bit. You want to serve while the cobbler is still warm, but not piping hot. I prefer to have mine with a bit of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, but whipped cream is tasty as well!
I hope you enjoy this one!
Southern Blackberry Cobbler
Double pie crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup shortening, cold
1 egg, beaten
1 TBS vinegar
5 TBS cold water
2 pints fresh black berries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 TBS butter
Sugar for dusting
To make crust, place flour and salt in a bowl and mix slightly to combine. Working quickly, cube cold butter and shortening and add to flour. Using a pastry cutter, work the butter and shortening into the flour until the mix resembles course crumbs. Add COLD water, well-beaten egg and vinegar. Using a spatula or wooden spoon mix until combined. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Gently shape into disks and place in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
To make filling, place berries, sugar and water in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer mixture until berries have released their juices. If you like, you can smash the berries and strain the seeds for a smoother finished cobbler.
Place one of the chilled dough rounds on a lightly floured surface and roll to approximately 1/4″ thick. Slice into approximately 1″x1″ squares and place them in the simmering berry mix. Allow them to cook until most of the dough pieces have risen to the top.
While dumplings are cooking, place remaining dough disk on a lightly floured surface and roll to approximately 1/4″ thick and roughly in the shape of your prepared dish. Carefully pour hot berry mixture into the prepared pan and dot the top with 3 TBS of butter. Gently place the rolled out crust over the top of the berries. Trim any overhanging dough and cut several vent holes in the crust. At this time, you may dust the top of the crust with sugar if you want.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.