Individual Mixed Berry Cobbler With a Buttermilk Biscuit
A few nights ago, I wanted to make a cobbler for dessert (have you seen the berries??) but didn't have enough fruit or mouths for my original recipe. I decided to cut the ingredients down to an individual portion size - basically by a 1/4. It's the perfect serving for two and is incredibly easy to assemble.
The recipe notes and useless facts are pulled from my previous cobbler post. The ingredient ratios and instructions have been updated for the new size.
- Blueberry Cobbler is old-timey Alaskan cuisine and was even featured in the 1980 "Juneau Centennial Cookbook". The authors collected favorite family recipes from residents who had lived in Alaska for 50+ years.
- The growing conditions in Alaska have created superberries - blueberries ten times higher in antioxidants than those grown in the lower 48. Generally speaking, blueberries have the highest antioxidants of any fruit. I'm into flavonoids as evidenced in the Useless Facts here and here.
- The first written recipe for berry cobbler was published in the 1839 cookbook, "The Kentucky Housewife". The intro stated that, "Although not a fashionable pie for company, cobbler is very excellent for family use." And this gem, "Blackberries develop differently than most other fruits, and even blackberries that might look mature to the untrained eye can be misleading (this rule can also be applied to men.)" So sassy.
- The blueberry is the second most popular berry in the U.S. behind strawberries. Since strawberries aren't technically a berry, I guess blueberries are actually number one? Berry politics.
There's nothing complicated about berry cobbler - no fancy machines or preparation. It's comfort dessert built entirely around the simple perfection of fruit at its peak. My recipe was inspired by both Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home and Cook's Illustrated's The New Best Recipe.
Two important tips:
- Adjust the ratios of fruit to highlight whatever tastes best.
- Always taste your filling and adjust the sugar as needed. If you need a lot more sugar than this recipe calls for your fruit may not be ready.
Berries at Jimenez Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market
- 9 oz fruit (I used 5oz blueberries and 4 oz blackberries for the dish pictured.)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar Note: My blueberries were just right so this was enough sugar. Per the "Recipe Tips", you may need to adjust the sugar if the fruit isn't in peak form or if you generally like a sweeter dish.
- Scant 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Scant 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp potato starch Note: I prefer the flavor or potato starch and have found that you need less when baking fruit pies and cobblers. If using corn starch, increase slightly.
- Pinch of cinnamon and flake-style salt
- 34 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/16 tsp baking soda
- 1/16 tsp flake-style salt
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1 tbsp butter, melted, cooled
- 1/8 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 oz buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Combine all of your filling ingredients in a bowl, tossing gently with a rubber spatula.
- Let the berries macerate for about 25 minutes, tossing a few more times.
- While the berries are doing their thing, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with a layer of foil (easy cleanup).
- After 25 minutes, toss the berries one more time then transfer to an individual oven-safe dish. Note: I use the dish listed under "Tools".
- Bake on the lined baking sheet until the filling is bubbling around the edges, about 20-25 minutes.
- Bowl 1: While the berries are baking, whisk the flour, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl until combined.
- Bowl 2: Whisk the cooled melted butter, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- Bowl 3: Whisk the remaining 1 1/2 tsp sugar with the 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.
- About two minutes before the berries come out of the oven, add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Note: The key to a tender biscuit is that you only work the dough until there isn't any more dry flour.
- Gently roll dough into a lumpy ball.
- Remove the berries from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.
- Place the dough ball on the hot berry filling.
- Using your small mesh strainer, sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until the biscuit is golden.
- Let the cobbler rest for about 20 minutes before serving.
You can make the cobbler several hours in advance. Simply cover with a dish towel once it has cooled completely. I reheat my cobbler in a 300 degree oven until just above room temperature.
Ice cream is always a good idea.
- Berries from Murray Family Farms
- Lemon from Polito Family Farms