Summer berry lovin’

Heat wave! It’s all anyone can think about here in Toronto for the past few days. Summer does not go ignored when it’s 42 degrees with the scorching hot sun cooking me alive. So I decided to embrace this amazing summer weather by . . . staying indoors and soaking up the air conditioning.

The only thing I’m taking from this heat is inspiration. Nothing says summer like an ode to berries! I had a tub of blackberries sitting in my fridge for a while, and no way to get rid of them. I’ve been avoiding them ever since I realized they were deceptively sour. (It’s always a game of chance when it comes to berries, isn’t it?)

What’s the cure for sour berries? Turn them into dessert!

On today’s menu: mixed berry cobbler topped with fresh whipped cream

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never had berry or any kind of cobbler before, meaning I’ve definitely never tried making my own before. I’m going to take a wild guess that cobbler is just baked pieces of dough on top of some sort of filling – kind of like a crumble with a biscuit top.

Now that my primitive definition has scared away all those professional chefs out there, the rest of you can join me and watch the magic unfold. No frame of reference. Only a very vocal sweet tooth and a need to rid my fridge of some disappointing berries. Let’s begin!

I started with the doughy topping. It’s just flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I got a little caught up in the moment and threw in some cinnamon as well. Mix it all together with some boiling water and you’ll get something like this.

Just an unassuming, typical, run-of-the-mill dough ball. Little do you know you're going to turn into a cobbler.
Just an unassuming, typical, run-of-the-mill dough ball. Little do you know you’re going to turn into a cobbler.

Time to prep the star of the show – berries! I started out making blackberry cobbler, but overestimated how many blackberries I had.  Like a good chef, I improvised. Now we’re making blackberry and strawberry cobbler.

Mix a little cornstarch with some cold water. Throw in some sugar, lemon juice and vanilla (I put vanilla in almost everything). That should turn bland, sour or just plain blah berries into the best berry dessert of the summer.

I let the berries soak up all that lemony sugar water while I scrambled around the kitchen getting ready for the next step.
I let the berries soak up all that lemony sugar water while I scrambled around the kitchen getting ready for the next step.

The recipe says to cook the berries in a cast iron skillet over the stove, which I don’t have. I just brought them to a boil over the saucepan. You know it’s ready when it’s a hot, bubbly, sticky mess – a finger-licking dessert in the making.

A super close look at the cooked berries. I would have backed up a bit to show you the whole pot, but I already started plopping the dough on top. Whoops. Jumped the gun a bit there.
A super close look at the cooked berries. I would have backed up a bit to show you the whole pot, but I already started plopping the dough on top. Whoops. Jumped the gun a bit there.

I poured my berry sauce into a baking pan (the kind you bake brownies in. Mm . . . brownies. But that’s a baking project for another day). Now where did I leave that dough ball?

There might be a more elegant way to do this, but I haven’t thought of anything yet. I just took a big spoon and went to town on that dough ball. Plop them on top of the berry sauce and the hard work is done!

They said spoon out the dough, so I spooned out the dough. I still have no idea if this is what it's supposed to look like.
They said spoon out the dough, so I spooned out the dough. I still have no idea if this is what it’s supposed to look like.

Or perhaps the hardest part is this: the waiting game. Twenty-five minutes at 400°F should be enough to bake the cobbler.

Now it's all up to the oven to work its magic. Come on, cobbler!
Now it’s all up to the oven to work its magic. Come on, cobbler!

I like to pretend the bubbling berry sauce is lava oozing out from the cobbler islands, but maybe I’m having hunger hallucinations. It may be tough to wait it out when you can smell the berries cooking, but trust me! It will be worth the wait.

Golden brown and hot out of the oven!
Golden brown and hot out of the oven!

It’s ready! You’re looking at my first ever cobbler. What a momentous occasion. To all you cobbler veterans out there: if this looks nothing like a cobbler, now would be a good time to smile, nod and lie through your teeth.

I can't wait to dig into that sticky berry goodness.
I can’t wait to dig into that sticky berry goodness.

It’s amazing how quickly that berry sauce simmers down once you take it out of the oven. One minute it’s an angry bubbling mess, and the next it’s deflated into this amazing sticky jam-sauce settling calmly into the bottom of the pan.

Tada! Now that's a summer treat to cure your heatwave blues.
Tada! Now that’s a summer treat to cure your heatwave blues.

When celebrating summer berries, you can’t leave out berry’s best friend – whipped cream! Luckily, I had some leftover whipping cream in the fridge. (it’s just an endless pool of inspiration in there.) No sugar. No nothing. Just plain old homemade whipped cream. Put a dollop (or two!) on top of your cobbler, and you’re ready to soak up that summer sun.

There you have it! This may be my first impression of berry cobbler, but I must say I am already a fan! There’s something so satisfying about that cobbler dough. It’s baked to a light crunch on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. It’s like the long-lost delicious cousin of bread and biscuit.

The berry sauce is amazing! I completely forgive my blackberries for being so horrible sour. If that’s what it takes to introduce me to cobbler, then I have nothing but gratitude for that carton of berries. It’s thinner than jam, but perfect for soaking up into the cobbler.

Whipped cream is as always the perfect grand finale. You know you’ve hit the sweet spot when it’s just starting to melt as it hits the warm berry sauce. The whole flavour combination reminds me of scones with clotted cream and jam, but on steroids! It’s nothing short of amazing.

Bring on that heat wave!

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4 thoughts on “Summer berry lovin’

  1. That looks lovely. I’m impressed – I haven’t been able to convince myself to generate that much heat in this hideous weather. I may have to get over it tomorrow, though. There’s only so many sliced cucumbers a girl can eat. 🙂

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