As an adult, I figured out how to make it by trial and error, and now I make it every summer. Once. Yesterday was the day.
I make it every year because it's gorgeous and super yummy. What's not to love about flaky pastry layered with the season's fresh ripe sweet-tart blackberries macerated in a bit of sugar and lemon and baked until thick and satiny? But I also make it because it reminds me of my grandmother -- "Big Grandma" as I began calling her when I was a little girl.
|I took this photo of Big Grandma (and grandpa) on her birthday -- probably 1978. Her three sons (my dad in the middle) behind. It was taken in her kitchen at the Westmont, Illinois home where my dad grew up.|
Although she never tasted my version of her famous cobbler, I think she would approve. The secret is the middle layer of pastry, tucked between layers of fruit that soaks up the juices and adds a little more of that wonderful juice-saturated crust and syrupy berries to every bite.
Strictly speaking, this may not be a true cobbler since the crust is made from pie dough rather than biscuits or crumbles. But we've always called it a cobbler -- so I suppose it is.
Audrey's Three-Crust Blackberry Cobbler
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tb. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 c. vegetable shortening (like regular Crisco)
11 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water (use the lesser amount of water in western Washington)
1 Tb. lemon juice
Pulse flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add shortening and butter and pulse until the they are well incorporated and the pieces are about the size of a pea.
In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. With the motor running add the wet to the dry, processing until it begins to come together into a ball.
Place the dough on a large piece of parchment or plastic, shape into a disc, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
5 pints fresh blackberries (6 pints if they are small berries)
1 Tb. fresh lemon juice
3/4 - 1 cup sugar
2 Tbs. flour
dabs of cold, unsalted butter
1 egg for an egg wash
sugar for sprinkling
Rinse and drain the berries right before preparing the filling. I like to make two batches/bowls of fruit since there are two layers of fruit and I like to put more on the bottom layer. For the first batch, mix together three pints of berries, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tb. flour. Set aside and let it macerate. In another bowl, mix together the remaining berries with the sugar, 1 Tb. flour and the lemon juice. Set aside.
Use half the dough for the bottom layer. Using plenty of flour, roll the dough into a rectangle such that it fits over the bottom and comes all the way up and a little over the sides of the baking dish. I use a deep lasagne pan that is a tad smaller than 9x13. Pour the first batch of fruit onto the dough and spread evenly. Roll out 1/3 of the remaining dough to fit on top of the fruit, making it just large enough to touch the sides loosely. Arrange the second batch of fruit in a single layer on top of the pastry. Add dabs of cold butter across the top.
|This photo shows the middle layer of pastry covered with the second batch of fruit.|
Chill the entire cobbler in the refrigerator for about 30-40 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the on a shelf in the middle of the oven for about 40-50 minutes, until bubbly and golden on top. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.