My mother is a master cobbler-maker and can turn just about any summer fruit into a heavenly combination of sucré and salé – sweet and salty (and tart) – that elevates the palate and, as my late stepfather used to say, causes the eyes to roll back in the head in ecstasy. Even Julia, not one to give up culinary compliments freely, honored Mama by including her blackberry cobbler recipe in Julia Reed’s South, a badge of honor Mama wears proudly.
At age 51, I still call Mama a few times a year to ask her advice on how to ensure that I don’t end up with a crust that’s too short or too heavy, a filling that’s too syrupy or not syrupy enough. No matter how many times she writes the recipe down for me, I can’t perform the same alchemy she does with Crisco and flour and peaches or the sweet little blackberries we pick by the side of the road in Sewanee, TN, in late summer, usually just enough for one cobbler. Maybe it’s the love and the memory of being taken care of that make Mama’s cobblers taste so much better than my own.
Because I can’t ever seem to recreate that deliciousness, and because Mama won’t be with me this 4th of July, I’m turning to an old standby recipe which I consider a huge cheat, but which is pretty delicious if incredibly easy to make. I have no idea who told me about this recipe, but I wrote it down at some point in the early aughts in the well-worn red Clairefontaine notebook that’s home to all the recipes I consider worth keeping. This one was first published in Saveur Magazine. I added the raspberry garnish to the creme fraiche to give it a patriotic flair.
- 6 cups (3 pints) blueberries, washed and stemmed
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1⁄4 cups flour
- 2⁄3 cup brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 10 tbsp. cold butter
- handful of fresh raspberries
- Preheat oven to 350°. Toss together washed, stemmed blueberries and granulated sugar in a bowl, then transfer to a medium baking dish.
- Combine flour, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt in another bowl. Using two knives, work cold butter, cut into pieces, into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle mixture evenly over blueberries.
- Bake until berries are bubbling and topping is golden, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with heavy cream spooned over top. Garnish with fresh raspberries for color.