Around Memorial Day weekend and throughout the month of June, summer fruits and veggies explode in South Louisiana. And at no time do these foods taste better than they do during summer. I’m talking about blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, watermelon, figs, peaches and more.
Local farmers markets have recently begun featuring blueberries, and here at my house, our backyard berries are ripening. That means cobbler will soon be emerging from my kitchen.
Cobbler is a southern favorite that’s prepared as many different ways as there are families who prepare it. I’ve made it for years because it’s a great use of summer fruit and it’s simple. To me, though, cobbler always had a problem. It was too sweet, especially when you throw on ice cream or whipped cream.
The answer was cut the sugar and add lemon and lime (zest and juice), fresh mint, fresh basil and a little balsamic vinegar. The fusion of these flavors pairs perfectly with the dish’s sweetness.
I’ve tried several toppings over the years, but I keep coming back to a simple biscuit dough formula that becomes firm and golden on the outside while remaining tender on the inside.
For the berries:
8 cups Louisiana blueberries, washed and stems removed
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar, or more to taste
Zest of 1 lemon, plus juice
Zest of 1 lime, plus juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Fresh mint and basil leaves, about 10-12 each, cut by chiffonade
For the pastry topping:
1 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter
½ cup milk
Heat oven to 425. In a large bowl, add blueberries and next 6 ingredients, tossing gently to combine. ***Taste for flavor.*** This is not intended to be an overly sweet cobbler, but if you feel the need for more sugar, add it now.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish or a 3-quart casserole with cooking spray and pour in berry mixture. Prepare topping by combining flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, then cutting in butter until it resembles course meal. Drizzle in milk and combine with a fork. Using a spoon, drop dough on top of berries evenly until surface is covered. You can also knead the dough, and roll it out or press it onto a floured surface and cut it into rounds.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.