ATK Recipe #13: Blueberry Cobbler

Facing a three day Holiday weekend, I sent my husband to the store to buy pre-cooked brisket because I just wasn’t feeling like cooking. But I decided we would probably want a dessert to eat, too. So I hit the cookbook and decided to make either fruit cobbler, berry gratin, or cupcakes. Justin voted for cobbler. The picture accompanying the recipe is a luscious looking blueberry cobbler and blueberries are both seasonal and easy to prep, which appealed to my laziness.

I always forget, prior to starting on a baked good, that I freaking hate baking. I normally enjoy cooking, but baking just doesn’t work when I try. I’m not a precise style person and baking usually ends with a huge mess and a result that is either mediocre or downright inedible. (The great gingerbread fiasco of 2008 comes to mind.)

But I thought cobbler was a good intro to the ATK dessert recipes. Kinda like a pie, without having to approach the dreaded pie crust from scratch that I’ll eventually have to tackle. The ATK recipe is a generic fruit cobbler with a separate table for fillings by fruit. The blueberry called for 6 cups of blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Somehow, I forgot to add the lemon juice. I was flustered, looking for the right measuring spoons and trying to figure out whether my blueberries were really sweet or only sorta sweet (which calls for two different amounts of added sugar.) I think the finished cobbler would have been better with the lemon juice, but I don’t think anyone who didn’t know something was missing would have noticed it.

So the ATK trick to cobbler is to start cooking the berry filling by itself in the oven for 20-30 minutes and then to add the crust dough to it. This is in order to prevent the crust from being overbaked on top and gluey on the bottom. The hot fruit starts cooking the dough immediately from the bottom. So I had 20 minutes to get the dough together so that the cooking would be timed correctly. It didn’t help that I had to rest my back for a few minutes before I could stand back up and get back to work.

So, the dough. Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Another confession. I got the measurement for the baking powder and baking soda mixed up. This is another reason baking is stupid. Can’t we call these substances something distinct? Anyway, I tried to scoop up the extra baking soda, but really I just said Fuck it. Again, I’m not really a baker. A real baker would no doubt have started over with fresh flour, but I was on a schedule. And only then did I realize the recipe called for butter that had been melted and then cooled. I did not have time for this. I threw the butter into the microwave and then into the freezer, but it was totally not cool by the time I combined it with the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Anyway, I ended up with something that certainly resembled dough and I dished it onto the hot fruit filling in little bits 1/2 inch apart as directed.

Blueberry Cobbler

The final product was pretty good, but had a few flaws, in my opinion. First of all, the filling was really liquid. The recipe instructed to rest it for 15 minutes before serving and I rested it at least that long, if not longer. But it was still sort of blueberry soup. After refrigerating the remains, the cobbler was a little less like soup, but I still feel like the recipe needs adjustment, except I don’t bake so I don’t know how. My other issue was the biscuit crust. I think maybe I like my crust gluey on the bottom. This seemed like too much dough to fruit and too much like cooked biscuits on top of fruit. Now, Justin loved it and said he really liked the dough. And I’ve eaten several bowls of cobbler and ice cream this weekend, so don’t get me wrong, this was pretty good. I would happily serve it to people.

But it’s not the best cobbler I’ve ever had and I really feel the dough is the problem. Maybe it’s not Southern enough. I’m a little disappointed that this is the only cobbler recipe in the book, because now I want to try different recipes to see what I do like. The berry gratin sounds promising, though. Next time I want a fruit dessert, I’m trying that. (Unfortunately, I think my husband may continue begging for this cobbler.)

13 out of 1200

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10 thoughts on “ATK Recipe #13: Blueberry Cobbler

  1. Justin says:

    I thought the Great Gingerbread disaster was an awesome day myself. We baked a metric butt ton of cookies that day and almost everything came out good.

  2. stephanie b says:

    I understand your confusion regarding the baking substances. I’ve only recently come to figure out the difference between the two. They both do the same thing — release carbon dioxide, which causes dough to rise — and baking powder even contains baking soda, so mixing them up is not the end of the baking world. The difference is that baking soda can have a bitter taste if it’s not in a recipe that has something acidic. Baking powder has other stuff in it to counteract the bitter taste of the baking soda, so it can be used in recipes that don’t have an acidic ingredient. So when in doubt, use baking powder, I guess?

    And if your head hasn’t hit your desk from falling into a coma out of boredom, I’m impressed.

    I’d be curious to try that recipe, though I think I might be with you on preferring gooey crust. I’m accustomed to cobblers having a crumbly topping — maybe that’s a Southern thing? — which tend to absorb the juiciness of the fruit.

    In my baking experience, blueberries have always been a soupy problem for me. I’ve had luck reducing the soupiness by thawing frozen blueberries before using them in the recipe, even if I just run cold water over them and let them drain really when in a colander for 15 minutes before I use them. I also tend to add more cornstarch than the recipe calls for, but I’ve not been brave enough to add too much more because I don’t want to ruin the flavor.

    • Kim says:

      Really interesting. I wonder why the recipe called for both powder and soda, then. Perhaps the extra baking soda made the dough poof up and contribute to the over-doughy-ness.

      Yeah, I like crumbly toppings too. I notice that other types of fruit in their table call for more cornstarch, so I think it might have been safe to increase it with the blueberries.

      • stephanie b says:

        Both? That’s…unique. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Huh.

        By the way, I hope you don’t mind my commenting so much on your blog. I kinda love cooking blogs. They’re a problem for me.

      • thetexturedknitter says:

        Baking soda begins working as soon as it hits the liquid components of the recipe. Baking powder, which sometimes but not always has a “twice acting” label on it somewhere, reacts when it hits liquid, and again when it goes into the heat. I looked that up recently because I refrigerated some peanut butter cookie dough that only has baking soda in it… it’s a great mystery whether the cookies will rise when I try to bake off some more of them. At worst I figure we can bake a few at a time and eat them while they’re still warm and pliable. 🙂

        Also, baking soda and powder are used differently depending on whether the dough/batter is alkaline or acidic (as in buttermilk recipes). I don’t remember which is which of those, though, and I don’t offhand know the consequences of using too much of one, without consulting the Cake Bible (an awesome book, if you can get it through interlibrary loan and want to know everything there is to know about the science of baking).

        • Kim says:

          Great to know! I’m so glad I have friends who know what they’re doing. Let me know what happens to the cookies. 🙂

  3. thetexturedknitter says:

    I’ve recently been feeling the need to try some of the new recipes I keep collecting in all these magazines I buy. I’m pretty sure I have the ATK cobbler recipe somewhere, so I’ll see what else I’ve got and compare them, and send you anything different.

    I don’t know exactly how soon I’ll manage to do that, but we just had to spend $1100 on a sick cat (now improved, hopefully will remain healthy) and another $1100 on a sick air conditioning unit, so getting entertainment out of already-bought magazines and decreasing the food budget from eating out to eating in both sound like good ideas. And we’ve got a good four months left to the ‘summer’ anyway… plenty of time for cobblers. 🙂
    -Brienze

    • Kim says:

      Cool, I’m open to whatever you may have. I feel you on needing to create cheaper entertainment. Part of my adventures in cooking are an attempt to still enjoy yummy, different foods without paying to go out.

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