It’s almost the time of the year where my oven goes into hibernation, turned off, only to be brought back to life when temps drop back into the double digits. Almost. (Texas summers are not to be underestimated, y’all.) Even though things are heating up down here in Austin, I’m a firm believer that the start of summer needs to be celebrated with the sweetest, ripest berries you can find. Sure, eaten fresh they’re one of the season’s greatest joys, but there’s something absolutely irresistible about the magic that takes place when summer berries and the oven meet. (The butter helps, too.) So when I made my first trip of the season to our local farmer’s market and found blackberries at nearly every stand, freshly picked and warm from the sun, I knew it was time get cobbler baking.
For most of my life, I’ve leaned towards crisps and crumbles over cobbler. As a kid, my mother never showed much interest in cooking or baking, but in the summertime, when the mood struck her, she could make a mean berry crisp. The nostalgia bred from those memories has never quite worn off and because of it, for many summers, when berries were ripe for baking, I’d always resort to my old favorite. That and buttery clusters of brown sugar.
But as my love for baking has grown, so has my interest in branching out, so this summer, I decided to experiment with cobbler. And boy am I glad I did. How, for so long, did I neglect to recognize the deliciousness that is warm, toasty biscuits atop a bubbling mix of sugar-kissed berries? Better late than never, I suppose.
This berry cobbler is based on a classic recipe because sometimes something as simple and pretty as a cobbler doesn’t need any frills. The one major adaption I made is the addition of almond meal to the biscuit dough. It adds a depth of flavor and texture that I absolutely love, and, if we’re being generous, we can argue that it ups the health factor a bit, too. When dolloped atop lightly sweetened berries and baked to perfection, the result is a skillet of fluffy biscuits, golden brown on top and deliciously soaked with warm berry juice on the bottom.
The only thing that can possibly make this summer delight better is a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
4 cups mixes berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.)
1 /4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons almond liqueur or bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
2-3 tablespoons cold water or buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar in the raw
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, liqueur or bourbon and vanilla. Set aside.
- To make the topping, add the almonds to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine. Add the flour and sugar and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse until texture resembles that of wet sand.
- Add in two tablespoons of water and pulse until a dough forms. If dough does not come together, add 1 more tablespoon of water and pulse to form dough.
- Add the berries to a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Use a tablespoon to scoop dough on top of berries in 6-10 evenly spaced spoonfuls. Sprinkle sugar in the raw onto the top of the dough.
- Bake cobbler in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until berries are bubbling and biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.