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.
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