Cobblers are the answer to sweet fruit desserts that require little work. This one has a layer of juicy blackberries, a golden biscuit topping and is fantastic served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's ready in an hour and can be made ahead, frozen, and eaten at room temperature.
About this recipe
If you never made a cobbler before, it's one of the easiest desserts to make and especially good with fresh fruit. We have several here covering different seasons, the very popular pear cobbler, the old fashioned peach cobbler, and a few more.
What makes a cobbler such is a fruit layer topped by a biscuit topping, that can also be a pie crust lattice as in the plum cobbler recipe. Use your favorite fruit, some leftover pie crust that you might have frozen, and boom, a new great dessert is born.
There are different ways to make a cobbler topping and we have all versions in the desserts archives of this blog. Today we're making a quick and easy dessert recipe, so the biscuit style batter has melted butter, and the blackberry filling is stirred directly in the baking dish. It bakes resembling a cobblestone street and that's were the name comes from.
- Blackberries: I always favor fresh blackberries, but it can be made with frozen ones (which is the case today because I couldn't find sweet berries). I give both variations in the recipe.
- Lemon: both lemon zest and lemon juice are used for the filling, and potentially for the topping if you want.
- Cornstarch: it's the thickening agent for the syrupy sauce that forms during baking when the berries release their juices.
- Brown sugar: I love it for this cobbler, and use it exclusively, but you can use white sugar or a mix of both.
- Butter: unsalted, the one you use regularly is fine. We use melted butter because the biscuit topping is easier to mix that way.
- Flour: all purpose flour or cake flour, both work.
- Salt: it brings out the rest of the flavors. I use kosher salt.
- Buttermilk: it makes the biscuit dough more tender, but regular milk or even almond milk they all work. If you can't find buttermilk, simply add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a scant cup of milk, mix and let curdle.
How to make it
It's very simple to make this homemade blackberry cobbler. You need a grater for the zest, a medium bowl for the topping mixture, a spoon or rubber spatula, a ceramic dish and not much else.
The fruit layer is mixed directly in the baking dish. But you can use a separate large bowl to mix it and then dump it in the dish.
- Cornstarch mixture: this is the thickener of the fruit and creates a syrupy sauce as it bakes. Be sure to mix it with the lemon juice (or water if not using it) until it's completely dissolved before drizzling it on top of the blackberries.
- Flavorings: go easy on the lemon zest as it can be bitter and blackberries are not always super sweet. But a little bit is nice for an extra punch of lemon flavor. Orange zest and juice also works very well with blackberries.
For the biscuit batter you start by mixing the flour mixture with the brown sugar (these all are also called the dry ingredients) in a bowl. To that we'll add the wet ingredients, the buttermilk and melted butter, and then you need to mix it all but very lightly. Don't beat it or over mix it as it will toughen the dough. This might be the only thing, or the most important one for sure, that I need you to pay attention to. Images 1 to 4, below.
How to add the biscuit topping:
Drop mounds of it on top of the blackberry filling (image below). There should be space left without topping so that the juices bubble up and the crust can bake properly.
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Berries: the amount of some of the ingredients vary slightly if using fresh or frozen blackberries. Frozen ones will release more liquid, so I recommend you add more cornstarch. They might be more or less sweet, so I recommend different amounts of sugar. It's all explained in the Notes section of the recipe card, below.
- Cobbler topping: follow instructions in the recipe card and you'll be fine. Don't over mix it, that's the key. You can also use cold butter and make a topping similar to a scone, like the one we use in the Blueberry Cobbler recipe. But it takes a little more work and I wanted to keep this a simple recipe. Crunchier topping: you can increase the amount of sugar in the recipe if you like a topping that has more crunch than crumb. See Notes in the recipe card.
- Flavorings: blackberries go great with lemon, but also with orange (Orange Blackberry Muffin Loaf anyone?). You can also add up to a teaspoon of vanilla extract if you like that mellow, sweet flavor. I find that it takes away from the fruit, but that's just me. And a pinch of ground cinnamon or mace can be a nice addition.
The most important things I recommend you to pay attention to are: don't beat or over mix the biscuit batter, lightly stir it. There might even be a small dry spot here or there. And check the inside of the baked topping when you feel the cobbler is ready. It might still be wet inside and need more time even though it's golden, the filling is bubbling and it all looks wonderful.Vintage Kitchen Tips
Other recipes you might like:
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A layer of juicy blackberries and a crunchy biscuit topping that are fantastic served with a scoop of ice cream. A quick and easy dessert, ready in an hour that can be made ahead, frozen, and eaten at room temperature.
For the berries:
- 4-5 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen (see Notes below)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (see Notes below if using frozen berries)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
For the berry mixture:
- Have ready an 8x11-inch (or a 9-inch a round or square baking dish) ceramic or glass dish.
- Mix blackberries directly in the baking dish (or in a medium bowl and then add to the dish) with the lemon zest and sugar.
- Mix cornstarch with the lemon juice until smooth and no lumps remain. Pour over the blackberry mixture and mix lightly.
For the topping:
- In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Add buttermilk and then the warm melted butter.
- Mix lightly with a fork or spoon. Don’t over mix or beat it so that the biscuit bakes soft and tender. It should be like a scone or thick muffin batter.
- Spoon mounds of this mixture over the blackberries.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until it’s dry, golden and, when you carefully lift the topping with a fork, it’s completely done. Make sure you check this as it sometimes appears well baked on top but still needs some time to fully bake inside.
always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Fresh berries are always preferred when in season, but frozen ones absolutely work too! Use 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for the filling, as they usually release more liquid.
- If you like a very sweet dessert, or if the berries are too sour, add up to 3 more tablespoons of sugar to the blackberry filling.
- Fruit to topping ratio: I like more fruit than biscuit, so I use 5 cups of fruit. But if you like less fruit, use only 4 cups.
Crunchier topping: you can use more sugar, double the amount in the recipe, if you like a topping that has more crunch than crumb.
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Serving: cobblers are served directly on the dish they were baked in, so make sure you use one you like to take to the table. A dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream rounds up the plate. I use a lovely ceramic rectangular dish from Emile Henry.
Make ahead: you can make it a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, covered. Warm in a 350° oven before eating. This dessert can be frozen after it's baked. Also, blueberries can be kept year-round in the freezer and the topping comes together in ten minutes. So it's very easy to put together.
Keywords: blackberry cobbler