Friday, August 6, 2010

Blackberries Galore

It's still blackberry picking time in Madison. This morning I found some along the Verona link of the Ice Age Trail, accessible from county road PD. It would have been wonderful if the mosquitoes hadn't emailed all their relatives to say that I would be coming. The only person who wasn't complaining about the bugs was the dog that came along with the other lady who was picking. I finally decided that I could have brought home many more berries, but the mosquitoes became a major obstacle. Alas. It's not easy being part of their food chain.

I really have found enough for one season anyway. I have made a blackberry pie, blackberry ice cream topping, blackberry cobbler, and put some blackberries in the freezer. I regret that our fair city leveled a very promising blackberry patch in Elver Park near my home. It cut my harvest in half. I don't understand why the city fathers didn't wait until after the berries were finished. Fortunately, there are other blackberry patches. And there will be more in a patch at an undisclosed location on Washington Island later in August, when I expect to be there.

The blackberry cobbler that I made is my adaptation from the Cherry Cobbler that I reported on, from the Prairie Farmer WLS Cook Book of 1941. They could have thought of blackberries while they were working on cherries, but they didn't. So here is my version. I like it a lot in spite of the seeds.

Blackberry Cobbler for  2

1 - 1 1/4 cup (approx.) fresh blackberries (Maybe thawed frozen ones will work; I don't know.)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk (approx.)

Find a baking dish that is 7x7 inches, or 6x8 inches. Pyrex sells a 6x8 dish. Goodwill occasionally sells old Corningware baking dishes that are about 7x7. The dish should hold about 1 1/2 quarts. The cobbler won't come up to the top of the dish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put berries and water in baking dish. Combine sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour, and sprinkle over the top. Put in oven and stir occasionally until the mixture is heated, about as long as it takes to mix the dough that goes on top.

Mix together the 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until it resembles pie crust dough. Add milk and stir until soft dough is formed. Stir as little as possible. Roll out dough 1/3 inch thick and place on hot berry mixture. If dough is too wet to roll, add more flour. Place dough on hot berry mixture to cover most of it.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve plain or topped with whipped cream or with ice cream.