So, how can you tell if it’s Blackberry Winter? It’s hard to pin it down and for sure, it won’t be on your calendar as National Holiday or even in the Farmer’s Almanac… to be precise and we do like to be precise- Blackberry Winter is a cool spell, when Spring temperatures dip almost to frost levels in Spring…even late Spring… Sometimes not… okay- so it’s not precise- here’s the real way to determine Blackberry Winter- it occurs when the blackberries are in bud and bloom.
There will be chilly nights, maybe even a few days and nights of nippy weather! The South has fickle weather almost all year round- so some may say,
‘No, it’s too early for Blackberry Winter’ Or- ‘You know, we always have more than one Blackberry Winter, if the frosts kills the first blackberry blooms’…
Still. Blackberry Winter comes at a time- when there’s not a ripe blackberry to be found anywhere – except…in the produce aisle, surely forced in a greenhouse or in the frozen fruit section. Whatever or however I find these berries- for some reason- a Blackberry Winter throws a longing on me for Blackberry Jam and hot buttered Biscuits, like my Uncle Roland used to make OR… I’m longing for a Blackberry Cobbler. So, when we had a Spring cool snap a few days ago, I had to make one!
Before I tell you how I made it, let me say- when you make a Cobbler, I’m sure you like it best your way and it’s fine with me! However, until I was an adult, I never knew cobblers could even have biscuit topping. The term cobbler is obscure, some thought the topping resembled cobbled streets- some believed the topping referred to the work of a shoe repairman known as a cobbler. With that in mind- the Southern Cobblers I know and love were always pie crust topped- with sugared fruit, the fruit juices, butter held together with thin dumplings made of pie crust dough. That dough was ‘nailed into’ the fruit to thicken and bind the fruit and juices under a single pie crust on top.
Of course, the top crust is best buttered and sugared for good color and taste! Here’s how you make:
Camellia’s Blackberry Cobbler
- You will need-
- Pie Crust Dough for a single crust 9 inch pie (scraps are used in filling) Make your favorite dough or purchase a ready made crust- flat rolled.
- 4 cups of fresh or frozen plump Blackberries (I often use a mix of both)
- 1-1/2 cups of Granulated Sugar plus more for sprinkling over the top of crust
- 2 Tbs. Corn Starch
- Zest of 1/2 medium Lemon (save the lemon for another purpose if so desired)
- 1 stick of Salted Butter* at room temperature- *you may not need the whole stick! It is used to generously butter the pan, to dot the berries before they cook and for smearing on the top crust! ** Southern recipes generally call for salted butter, you may use unsalted just add a pinch of salt to the sugar/ corn starch mixture!
Several hours or the night before– place 4 cups of Blackberries in a bowl. Combine 2 Tbs of Corn Starch and 1- 1 1/2 cups of Granulated Sugar- gently combine with 4 cups of Blackberries. Allow to chill until the sugar has dissolved completely and berries are soaked until natural juices have formed (blackberries are tart – so give them time to fully soak).
- Ready to bake? Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter generously a 9×9 square glass baking dish.
- Line a clean baking sheet with parchment.
- Sprinkle lemon zest over the berries and combine.
- Pour blackberries and juice into baking dish.
- Cut the unbaked chilled pie crust into approximately an 8 inch square saving scraps! Set aside large pastry square, keep chilled.
- Cut pastry scraps like short ‘dumpling’ lengths and even distribute into the berry mixture.
- Dot berries and pastry dumplings with butter.
- Sprinkle with more granulated sugar.
- Carefully place large square pastry onto berries, cutting slits in pastry for steam to escape while baking.
- Dot pastry top with more softened butter and sprinkle top crust generously with more sugar!
- Bake for approximately one hour or until filling thickens and the crust is a beautiful golden brown! *Parchment lined baking sheet may increase cooking time by up to 15 minutes. Start checking after 55 minutes up to 1 hour or longer.
- The cobbler’s berries will be hot right after baking! Allow to cool. Makes 4 generous servings. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and get ready to swoon!
This recipe can be doubled using a larger pan. Any larger? The cobbler just won’t turn out with the same crust and thickened fruit! Okay, is anyone ready to have more than one Blackberry Winter? I know I’m ready for Spring and more cobblers– blackberry, sweet potato, strawberry, chocolate, apple, blueberry…Oh my! Yum!
Love y’all, Camellia
*Photographs are obviously mine!
**We don’t have blooms quite yet, but certainly buds! So who knows? We may have another cool snap or two!