Fruit cobbler

Fruit cobbler top

Autumn has seized us now in the south of England with its cool, slightly soggy grip. We’re also going through a disheartening time in our adoption process, so it’s definitely time to embrace the comfort foods.

One such stodgy autumnal comfort food is cobbler. Cobbler is simply a variation on the theme of a pie – that is, a sweet or savoury filling covered with a flour-based topping or crust. But in this case, the crust consists of a scone-type mixture. A lot of cobbler recipes use a moist dough, put on top of the filling in the form of rough blobs. Somewhere along the way, however, I latched onto the idea that the mix should be a drier dough, rolled out, and cut like scones, then put on top of the filling in a form more like shingles or roof tiles. Maybe it came from an old Katie Stewart recipe.

Stewart is one of Britain’s more unsung food writers, but her recipes in The Times in the 1970s and early 1980s, which my mother collected in a yellow binder, were another key part of my cookery education. Stewart even has a book called Wild Blackberry Cobbler and Other Old-Fashioned Recipes, published 1984. I don’t have it, so can’t verify my hunch that the tiled-style cobbler comes from her, but I am using some wild blackberries here.

It’s been a good year for blackberries, and we’ve had a few productive foraging sessions. This weekend just gone Fran and my mum gathered some more blackberries, along with rosehips and sloes, which we used to make hedgerow jelly.

They got the blackberries on the last day you’re supposed to pick them, according to one strand of British folklore: 11 October. Others say 10 October. These dates used to be when St Michael’s Day, Michaelmas, was celebrated. The Catholic calendar was, however, revised in 1752, and Michaelmas became 29 September. So some say that’s the last day you should pick blackberries. Michaelmas is supposedly the day when St Michael kicked Lucifer out of Heaven. Some say he landed on a blackberry bush and, angered by the thorns, cursed it, spoiling the fruit.

Either way, I’m using some of my blackberry jam made in August in this one, so I think we’re safe from any demonic saliva.

Fruit mix
1. Vary the fruit according to season, what trees you’ve got, what trees your friends or family have got, or what you can forage. Right now, in the thick of the apple harvest, I used 800g Bramley apples from a tree in my folks’ garden.
Peel, core and cube the apples, then stew in a pan with a dash of water and sugar to taste (I used 40g).

Bramley apples to stew downBramley apples, stewed
2. Cook until softened but not completely broken down.

Fruit filling
3. I mixed the apple with a few tablespoons of blackberry and plum jam.
4. Spread the fruit mixture in a 20x25cm ovenproof dish.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cobbler topping
330g plain flour
7g baking soda
Pinch fine sea salt
40g caster sugar
60g butter, unsalted
150g milk
90g yogurt
Extra milk
Granulated sugar

1. Sieve together the plain flour and baking soda in a bowl.
2. Add the pinch of salt and caster sugar and stir to combine.
3. Cut the butter up into small pieces, then rub in until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
4. Mix together the milk and yogurt (you could use 160g buttermilk instead) then add this to the mix.

Cobbler dough
5. Bring together to form a dough, kneading very briefly. If you handle it too much it’ll toughen up.
6. Roll out the dough to about 12mm thick.
7. Using a cookie cutter, cut discs. I used one 65mm wide, but use whatever you’ve got.
8. Cover the fruit mix with overlapping discs of cobbler dough.

Cover the fruit mix with tiles of cobbler mix
9. Brush the dough discs with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
10. Bake until browned, about 20 minutes.

Fruit cobbler with cream

Serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

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16 Comments

Filed under Puddings & desserts, Recipes

16 responses to “Fruit cobbler

  1. Ma

    Dan, it looks delicious. I am afraid I could not give up on my blackberry picking, once started with you, and have gathered more here in Devon. I shall risk the spit, because they still look so good.

  2. Michael Etherington

    Looks fantastic Daniel. How did it taste? Maybe we should bake it at the cooking group Christmas lunch. Michael

  3. This looks lovely – there’s nothing better than a good fruit cobbler or crumble sometimes!

  4. I love the cobbled together shingle top. Looks fantastic amazing and as per usual I now want a hot pudding at 3pm in the afternoon. Rejoice in your (possibly satanic) blackberries because English forest fruits are king, our blackberry harvest here is always a bit meagre and the fruit are small.

  5. I am not sure how I managed to spend over a third of my life in the UK without ever eating a cobbler, something that clearly needs to be rectified! I love the look of your cobbler – the shingles look really pretty!
    All the very best for the adoption process – I am sorry to hear things are not quite going to plan at the moment but I sincerely hope there will soon be light at the end of the tunnel for you both!

  6. Oh man, this looks amazing Daniel!! Such perfect pictures – heck, I’m even envious about your blackberry stash! Haha 🙂

  7. Paul

    The photos are good too bruv. Been scrolling through having a bit of a catch up.

  8. I love cobbler, yours rises above the average, Daniel, as does your foodie blog. That’s why I have to follow. If I can find the follow button that is.

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