Marionberry Cobbler

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It’s July, which means summer has arrived in Portland! And with early summer comes the much-anticipated, scrumptious fruits that grow so prolifically here in the Pacific NW.  So what do you do after you drive to Sauvie Island with your foodie friend and you each pick 10 lbs of berries (blueberries, raspberries, and marionberries for $2 A POUND!!!) ?  If you are not from Oregon, you’re probably wondering what the heck a marionberry is: it is a native-to-Oregon type of blackberry; it is the cabernet of blackberries, if you will (I read that on wikipedia, and it made me laugh).  So if you can’t get The Cabernet of Blackberries for your cobbler, you might just pull through with some normal blackberries.

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So the raspberries that were not devoured by Mr. Portlandivore were made into a sauce, which most of will be going into an experimental raspberry-buttercream-ala-Rembrandt’s-in-Chattanooga that Mr. P was so fond of during our college days, and the rest went into a raspberry ganache, which in turn was piped into my latest batch of raspberry macarons.  

The blueberries are still awaiting their ultimate fate, though I better get to baking them before the husband finishes all 3 lbs by himself (last check the bag was less than half full 2 days later).

And that brings me to the marionberries! They were the most delicate of the three berries, so they were dispatched with posthaste. By which I mean they were made into a delectable cobbler immediately after I got home.

I used my tried-and-true favorite cobbler recipe from Martha, with only a few changes.  My marionberries were rather tart, but I thought the contrast between tart berries and sweet biscuit topping was just right (and you might as well throw on a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream while you’re at it!)  I just recommend tasting the berries before you add the cornstarch, and add more sugar to make it as sweet as you prefer.

*Butter Tip of the Day*- I cut the stick of butter into small cubes and then put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes until very cold. The reason for this is so the butter will not melt when you are working it into the flour with your hands. 

Cobbler topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup cold heavy cream

Berries:

8 cups (4 pints) marionberries (blackberries)

1/2 cup sugar (add more if berries are very tart)

4 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more if needed

zest from 1 medium lime

Sparkling sugar (or regular granulated if you don’t already have decorating sugar on hand) for dusting the top of the cobbler.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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Stir together sugar, zest and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add berries; stir gently to coat. Transfer the berries to a 9x13 baking dish (my pan was 9 1/2 x 12, and the original recipe only called for an 8x8 pan though it had 1 pint less of berries than I used, so the baking dish size isn’t as important for the outcome of a cobbler as say, it would be for a cake.)

Stir flour, baking powder, 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the very cold butter, and work it into the flour with your hands (or if you insist, a pastry cutter) until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Add the heavy cream, mixing with a wooden spoon just until the dough comes together (if it’s a little sticky, it’s ok, just don’t over-mix it!  Divide dough into 9 equal pieces, and form each into a ball, then gently pat the balls into flat rounds. You can dust lightly with flour before you divide the dough if it is sticking to your hands too much.  

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Place the dough rounds evenly-spaced over top of the berries, then sprinkle with the sparkling sugar. Bake until berries are bubbling in center and biscuits are golden brown (and delicious), 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack, and let cool slightly before stuffing your piehole. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.