All right ladies and gentlemen, here it is: the name of our new settlement is The Brambles. The name is eminently appropriate because the land–which was loved but neglected by its previous settlers–is grown over high and wild with blackberry brambles. They are unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Of course we are picking them, eating them by raw handfuls, and making cobbler.
I feel I have to make a disclaimer about cobbler. I was raised to make pie. I say that so you’ll understand where I’m coming from. After I married, my husband’s wisdom steered me toward crisps. Blackberries, however, call out for cobbler. Cobbler with vanilla ice cream on a sultry summer evening, with lightning-bugs bumbling against your shirtsleeves and cicadas shrieking in the trees.
There are neither lightning bugs nor cicadas here, but oh my, the berries. A 200′ fence row and a dozen tangles 15′ tall and 20′ wide, and that’s just the area around the house. You have to understand that where we come from, a berry patch is a family secret. Here they’re all out in the open.
Some of them will have to go. One of the tangles is eating our barn, for example. They’ve climbed its side and insinuated themselves through the window. We want to save that barn–it’s a nice barn, for having been neglected for years and years–so those blackberries are living on borrowed time.
They’re also threatening to eat the old circular arena. I can’t let that happen because I sorely want that arena for my garden. It’s about 40′ in diameter, so it would make an enormous garden, but that doesn’t bother me. There’d be no need to cultivate it all at once, and with plans to put in asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, and cutting beds in addition to annual vegetables, well. Too much space is the last thing I’m worried about.
Oh, and a dye garden. Once upon a time I wanted a dye garden. We’ll see about that.
Another disclaimer about this cobbler recipe: it uses cornbread mix. I had never in my life bought cornbread mix before–I come from a strictly unsweet cornbread culture–so I sort of scandalized myself by buying it. It’s just right for the cobbler topping, though. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
So without further ado:
For the filling:
6+ cups fresh berries, washed, whole
Zest of one lime or lemon
2 T corn starch
1/3 cup sugar
For the crust:
1 cup AP flour
3/4 cup corn muffin mix (less than a whole box)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put berries in large pan and cook over medium heat until they’ve given up their juices and cooked down slightly. Add zest, starch, and sugar, briefly return to the boil, and pour into a 2 quart oven-safe dish.
Mix all ingredients for topping. Pour evenly over berry mixture. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until crust begins to acquire golden color. Let cool 1 hour before serving with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!