It’s Day 30 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.
As I walked today, I passed a blackberry vine that curled from a neighbor’s yard and dangled above the sidewalk. It had a ripe berry just begging to be picked. I plucked it from the vine and kept walking as I popped it into my mouth and enjoyed the sweet, refreshing juiciness.
It reminded me of the summers our family spent on the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta. There are numerous freshwater tule marches, a network of small islands, sloughs, and levees. Many are bordered with wild blackberry bushes. (You can watch a really interesting video about the area and the aging levees at the Association of California Water Agencies.)
Papa would anchor the boat close to shore. Then, with buckets in hand, we’d jump into the knee-deep river water and slosh to shore to pick wild blackberries. We’d eat our fill as we picked, and then my mom would use the remaining berries to make a delicious blackberry cobbler. Here’s the recipe:
2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
1 ½ cups sugar (or use a sugar substitute such as Xylitol)
Juice of one lemon (about 2 Tablespoons)
4 cups of blackberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (about ¾ stick)
¼ cup boiling water
Vanilla Ice Cream (to serve with the cobbler)
Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease an 8-inch casserole dish (about 2” deep) with non-stick cooking spray.
In a bowl, stir together the cornstarch and ¼ cup water until the cornstarch dissolves. Add 1 cup of the sugar (reserving the other ½ cup) and the lemon juice, and mix together. Gently combine the blackberries with the mixture until thoroughly coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.
In a bowl, combine the flour, the remaining ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use your fingers to quickly blend in the butter until the mixture is like coarse meal. Add ¼ cup boiling water and stir the mixture until it just forms a dough. Do not over mix.
Place the casserole dish with the blackberry mixture on top of the stove and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn off the heat and carefully drop spoonfuls of the dough on top of the hot mixture. Place the cobbler in the middle of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is a golden color. (Note: You can put a sheet of foil under the casserole dish to catch any overflow.) Serve the cobbler warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.