This is not your grandmother’s cobbler
June 29, 2006
Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. Ho, hum … another cobbler.But, there’s reason to read on: This recipe differs from those that have been around since our grandmother’s time. Instead of the traditional biscuit-like batter, this cobbler tops sweetened berries with a circle of light butter cake. And, the cake is sprinkled with almonds that toast beautifully while it bakes. It also leaves a few of the berries peaking through the center of the baked cake, making a very pretty presentation. I think it’s a real improvement and the results are definitely company fare.I like it best made with ripe blackberries, but a combination of blackberries and raspberries is also delicious. Most berries will work with the recipe, just don’t use strawberries; they exude too much juice.Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients; the cobbler comes together quickly and easily.Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.Almond-Berry Cobbler
Adjusted for altitudes above approximately 8,000 feetMake in a 10 inch round baking dish or deep-dish pie panIngredientsBerries3 cups of berries, rinsed and picked over1/3 cup granulated sugar3 tablespoons of cold waterCake6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest, fresh or freeze-dried1 1/2 large eggs (beat the second one and add half of it)1 cup of flourA pinch of salt1/2 teaspoon baking powder2 teaspoons vanilla1/8 teaspoon almond extract3 tablespoons milk1/4 cup of sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position.Put the berries in the ungreased baking dish, sprinkle them with the third cup of sugar and pour in the water. Using your fingers, gently lift and combine the ingredients until all of the berries are coated and the sugar is wet.Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is very soft. Add the lemon zest and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the one and a half eggs, the vanilla and the almond extract and beat until smooth and silky. If the batter looks curdled, increase the mixer speed and beat until it smooths out.Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add this mixture to the batter alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Take care not to overmix at this point or the cake will be tough instead of tender.Using a tablespoon or soup spoon, drop rounds of the batter around the edge of the pan containing the berries, about one inch from its side. Leave a circle of about three to four inches of berries uncovered in the center. If your pan is less than 10 inches in diameter, you may have some batter left over. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the batter.Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cobbler from the oven and cool it briefly before serving. You can bake it earlier in the day and reheat it in a 325 degree oven for about 15 minutes before serving. In either case, it’s best warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. This recipe is an adaptation of one in Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about this column or your questions about baking at firstname.lastname@example.org.