High Country Baking: Wild blueberry cobbler
High Country Baking
“Everything should be made as simply as possible, but no simpler.” — Albert Einstein
That quote describes this recipe perfectly. It is a minimalist’s dream with few ingredients and a process that couldn’t be more straightforward. Unlike some fruit desserts that rely on sweetness for their appeal, this cobbler is all about complementary tastes and textures. And the results? Oh, my, they’re good. One tester, who is considered a blueberry cobbler connoisseur, claims it’s his favorite rendition of this popular dessert.
Why is it so pleasing? First and foremost, it uses wild blueberries, which are smaller, sweeter and more intensely flavored than their larger cousins. Fresh ones are hard to find in most parts of the U.S., but the berries freeze very well, are available in our grocery stores all year long and star in this recipe. So the filling requires less sugar and flavor enhancers than it would if made with regular blueberries. You can add a splash of lemon juice or creme de cassis if you’d like, but they aren’t necessary.
The biscuits that top the berries also make a major contribution to its success. The combination of butter and heavy cream creates a light, tender, almost ethereal biscuit that contains only a small amount of sugar. They’re flaky goodness contrasts beautifully with the filling. It’s critical, when making the biscuits, to handle the dough as little as possible and with the lightest hand.
Wild blueberry cobbler
Adjusted for altitudes above 7,500 feet. Make in a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan.
- 3 cups frozen wild blueberries (don’t defrost)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, preferably superfine
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, preferably superfine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- Turbinado sugar, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the center position. Grease the pan with butter and set aside.
2. Make the filling: Combine the frozen blueberries, granulated sugar and flour in a mixing bowl and toss with a silicone spatula to coat the berries with the dry ingredients. Continue until no dry ingredients remain at the bowl’s bottom. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
3. Make the biscuits: Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until well-blended. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, add them and pulse until coarse, evenly moistened crumbs are formed. Add the heavy cream and pulse only until large, moist curds form. To do this step by by hand: Whisk the dry ingredients to combine, cut in the small pieces of butter with a fork or your fingertips, and gently stir in the cream until the dry ingredients are moistened. With both methods, stop well before a smooth dough comes together. Don’t overwork the dough or the biscuits will be tough and hard.
4. Pour the berry mixture into the prepared pan. Very gently pat the biscuit dough into rounds about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter and a half-inch thick. Don’t make them smooth and perfectly shaped; they should be slightly irregular and bumpy. Arrange them over the filling. They won’t fully cover it, and some berries will still be visible. Sprinkle the biscuits with turbinado sugar, if desired.
5. Bake until the filling thickens and bubbles, and the biscuits are fully cooked and golden on top, about 30 minutes. Remove to a rack, cool slightly, and serve or cool completely. Store in the fridge and reheat in a microwave or 325 degree oven until warm to the touch. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of cold cream.
This recipe is a variation of one published in The New York Times.
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at email@example.com.
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