Monday, July 14, 2014

The Best, Old Fashioned Cherry Blueberry Cobbler


Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been 
the two most beautiful words in the English language. 
- Henry James 

Not much to do these steamy Florida afternoons. Locked in the house but to dash from inside to out to car to shops. Even inside with the sometime chill of the air conditioning when it is working one feels a summer sloth, hot and tired, too lazy to cook or bake. Infused with summer vacation. I keep mom entertained, drive her from errand to errand, and every afternoon we head to brother and sister's-in-law for a meal, talk and movie night.

Tonight is a barbecue on the back patio: thick steaks, buttery herbed grilled corn on the cob, vegetables and a fresh loaf of bread and I am bringing dessert. Berries – blueberries that are so abundant in Florida and so difficult to find, so expensive to purchase in Nantes - just needed to be paired with sweet cherries and simmered with a bit of sugar, orange juice (a balance of acidic and sweet) and cornstarch to add just a bit of body to the juices that bubble out of the fruit to create a sauce. Then the all topped with slightly sweetened biscuit dough that bakes up light, moist and fluffy adding that vein of comfort food not quite found in a pie.

If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe… 
- Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited 

Yes, I rarely, if ever, bake at mom's house but since we unloaded the stash of cookies from her oven and since seeing the beautiful berries at the market I just had to try it out. I knew that I wanted to bake with blueberries and then I saw Jenni's Mixed Cherry-Berry Grunt on Pastry Chef Online but being without a skillet I flipped it around and turned it into a Cobbler. I crossed two favorite recipes from my kitchen: my Mixed Berry Pie and my Old Fashioned Peach Cobbler and came up with this. Delicious, flavorful… the bright, sweet fruit balanced with the cakey, barely sweetened biscuits and nothing is better. And so, so easy to make.

All you need to serve is whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and we all forget our worries for the time of dessert.


Serves about 9

Fruit filling:
6 cups of fruit – 4 cups pitted, halved cherries + 2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup orange juice
1 ½ Tbs cornstarch
Pinch salt (scant 1/8 tsp)
¼ tsp vanilla
1 Tbs apple cider or Balsamic vinegar, optional (this is Jenni's add)

1 ½ cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 Tbs sugar
5 Tbs butter
1 egg
¼ cup milk
About 2 Tbs sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have a glass or Pyrex 9 x 9-inch baking dish ready.

Prepare the fruit filling:

Place the prepared cherries and blueberries in a pot or saucepan. Toss in the sugar to coat the berries evenly. Whisk the cornstarch into the orange juice until smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved, and add to the fruit with the pinch of salt and the vinegar (if using), and vanilla. Stir well. Bring up to the boil and allow to cook just at a simmer for 3 minutes, stirring to keep from burning on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and pour into the baking dish.

Prepare the Cobbler topping:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large mixing bowl and then toss in the sugar. Feel free to stir in a dash of ground cinnamon if you like. Cube the butter and toss in the flour then rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal or damp sand and all of the butter is completely incorporated. Whisk the egg into the milk then pour onto the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until well combined and becomes a thick batter.

Lightly drop (you don't want to pack the dough) the dough by very large even spoonfuls onto the fruit in the baking dish in 9 dough clusters. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sugar evenly over the dough and slide the dish into the preheated oven to bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the dough is puffed up, firm and the tops are golden brown.

Serve warm – not hot hot as fresh-from-the-oven fruit juices may burn! – or room temperature with freshly whipped, slightly sweetened cream or a scoop of your favorite ice cream.


Pam Greer said...

this is the epitome of summer!

Renee Goerger said...

I adore your mix of blueberries and cherries! This looks completely wonderful! Glad you're having fun with your family back in FLA. Enjoy!

Susan Rebillot said...

Hmmmm...I have cherries, I have blueberries, this could be a baking project this morning! Looks delicious, and I love the look of your blog! I will visit often!

Liz Berg said...

Bill has been dropping not so subtle hints about his love for blueberry pie. I think a less labor intensive cobbler will make him very happy. Yours looks terrific...especially those tender biscuits!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A mouthwatering cobbler and fabulous mix of fruits!



Jennifer Field said...

Hooray! I do love a cobbler--my first love before the grunt/slump. That thing is awesome too, though. Hard to find a biscuits/dumplings on top of fruit dessert that I don't like.

I am also so happy you guys found Buster. =)

Milk and Honey said...

A cross between berry pie and peach cobbler sounds like heaven.

domenicacooks said...

This is so gorgeous. Also, I love the quote. I was a Brideshead addict back in the day. Have read the book many times and had a huge crush on both Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons.

Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things said...

How divine, Jamie and even better that you are spending time with your mother.

dina said...

i love cherries and blueberries. this look so delicious!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

This must have been an instant hit. Much better than all those cookies. :)

Barb | Creative Culinary said...

I will make this and eat the whole thing. That is a promise. :)

Denise said...

Reminds me of living in Phoenix; always dashing from a heat wave to an ice box! Blueberries have been crazy expensive out here as well. We saw them for $20 a pound at the farmer's market over the weekend. While I wanted to purchase some berries, I held out. I do have strawberries and blueberries in the house, thinking that would be lovely with your recipe! Summer does scream cobbler.

Terra said...

Yum.....that is my first thought! I love the idea of mixing cherries and blueberries together. This is a perfect comfort food! Gorgeous, Hugs, Terra

Nuts about food said...

Hope you had a wonderful time home with your mom and family

Laura @MotherWouldKnow said...

I'll admit it. I'm obsessed by this cobbler. I made it on Sunday and at leftovers last night. Adding balsamic vinegar to the fruit is a "must" - it takes the cobbler to a whole new level. And in one of the greatest coincidences ever, it turns out that one of my very best friends was making this same cobbler at the same time I was on Sunday - and she realized it when she saw me comment on it on social media!


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