Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce

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Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce

A Bountiful Blackberry Harvest

I had hopes for the blackberry harvest this year. The canes were covered with berries. I waited and waited and waited some more but when the hubby went out to pick he always came back with at most two cups. It was, to say the least, disappointing. Then they suddenly looked like someone had taken a blow dryer to them. I thought it was all over but somehow they came back! The last week has brought in harvests by the bowlfuls. We’ve enjoyed them immensely with just a bit of sugar but today I decided it was time to start baking with them. I wanted to truly celebrate the berry so I thought maybe a pie? But then I found this blackberry cobbler recipe and I knew I had a winner.

Cobbler or is it a Sonker?!

A what? According to the cookbook this is a sonker. Yeah – I’d never heard of one either. It’s basically a cobbler but instead of ice cream or whipped cream for the topping it has a vanilla sauce or “dip.” North Carolina claims ownership of the name and concept. That is fine by me, whatever it is called or wherever it is from it is delicious.  I found the recipe in a book called A Year of Pies I but I made a few changes to it as I tend to do.

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce

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Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce

For the Filling
5 pints of blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 TBS all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBS cold, unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 TBS unsalted butter, melted
Sugar in the Raw for sprinkling
For the Vanilla Sauce
2 cups whole milk
2 vanilla beans (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS corn starch
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Garnish – fresh berries

Preheat the oven to 425°
Butter a 9″ pie pan or 10″ cast iron skillet
Add the blackberries to a medium bowl.

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce
Add the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Gently toss until all of the berries are coated. Set aside.

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce
Make the Topping:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the cold, cubed butter and use a pastry blender or two knives to mix it in until the mixture resembles small peas.
Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until just combined.
Add the berry mixture to the prepared pie pan or skillet.

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce
Drop the topping in dollops about 3 TBS in size randomly over the surface of the berries.
Drizzle the melted butter over the dollops and then sprinkle with sugar in the raw.
Place the pie pan or skillet on a baking sheet in case of spillovers and bake at 425° for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350° and bake for another 30 – 35 minutes until the topping is nicely browned and the berry mixture is bubbling.

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce
Make the Vanilla Sauce:
While the cobbler is baking make the vanilla sauce.
Add the milk to a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
Scrap the seeds from the vanilla beans if using and add the seeds and pods to the milk.
Bring to a gentle boil.
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together.
When the milk reaches its boil add the sugar mixture and stir well.
Add the vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
Return to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.
Let simmer until the mixture thickens and reduces by half.
Strain into a bowl, let cool and refrigerate.
To serve:
Add some cobbler to a bowl and pour some sauce over top. Add a few fresh berries if desired

Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Sauce

How was it? Seriously – you have to ask?

This was a bowl full of summer. What was so wonderful about the vanilla sauce was that it complemented the beautiful, fresh blackberries instead of overwhelming them as ice cream would have. It wasn’t too sweet; that bite of tart you expect from a blackberry was very present but not overwhelming. It’s an adult dessert for sure.

I’ve got some more blackberries so we’ll see what I do with them. It’s so delightful having this many to enjoy. Hopefully it’s the beginning of many years of wonderful blackberry harvests.

 

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