Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mother of All Cobblers

Blackberries were on sale this week, a buck for a tray that normally went for $4.99. So you know what that means: blackberry cobbler.

Now, lots of folks prefer to make this with frozen blackberries. It's typically cheaper, and the frozen berries can be easier to work with. But when you have fresh available, you gotta go with it.

O, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your
thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and
a crust to endear them...with such a taste that will
make you close your eyes and wish you might live
forever in the wideness of that rich moment.
—Richard Llewellyn, Welsh novelist

8 cups blackberries fresh or frozen (thawed slightly if frozen)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup instant tapioca
Juice of ½ lime
Pinch of salt

1 cup flour
1 cup coconut
¾ cup sugar
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, toss berries with sugar, tapioca, lime juice and salt. Spoon into a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Don’t be afraid to mix or try other fruits too—peaches, raspberries, blueberries, etc. Use a little more tapioca with frozen fruit or expect the juices to be a bit thinner.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, coconut, sugar, pecans, baking powder and salt. Knead in the butter using your fingers. The mixture should resemble coarse sand; avoid overmixing. Blend in egg with your fingers; dough will be sticky. Spread topping over berries in clumps, covering evenly.
Bake for 45–50 minutes or until golden and crisp and filling is thick and bubbly. Place a cookie sheet under the dish during baking to catch spills.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Serve warm with
vanilla ice cream.

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