Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Berry Cobbler with Boysenberries

Although a berry cobbler can be made with many kinds of berries, my all-time favorite is with boysenberries.  I am absolutely wild about boysenberries.
A California treasure almost lost, boysenberries are a cross between a blackberry, raspberry and loganberry. This is the beautiful berry that made Knott’s Berry Farm famous. Deep red-purple in color, these juicy gems are rarely found beyond a farmers market and their season is just a few weeks long.
When I discovered boysenberries at Bristol Farms a few days ago I jumped for joy, greedily grabbing six boxes. Thankfully the produce guy knew me. He just laughed as I stood there with an open container, stuffing them in my mouth exclaiming “I can’t believe you have boysenberries”! Curious shoppers figured they must be special and started picking up boxes. The limited supply quickly dwindled.
My life-long love affair with boysenberries started as a kid. My dad is a Pastor and his first church was the little white Church of Reflection at Knott’s Berry Farm. Walter Knott agreed to him using the church for his growing congregation if he would hold services for employees on Sunday. I practically grew up on Knott’s Berry Farm. The memories are very special.
Knott’s, famed for boysenberry pie, jam, juice, popsicles, pancake syrup and tarts: I could never get enough. Back then it wasn’t roller coasters and wild rides, but the famous chicken dinners and all things boysenberry that drew the happy, hungry crowds.

With my stash safely home, boysenberry cobbler came to mind. While not exactly health food, at least cobblers bypass the calories of a pie’s pastry crust and rely on a crispy, crunchy baked topping to crown the berries. I experimented with cornmeal and whole wheat flour for the topping, but went back to my old standard recipe with all purpose flour.
This recipe is easy and fast to put together. The topping is sprinkled on, so no fussing with dough to make a biscuit topping. The sprinkled topping also allows you to control the amount; use a little or a little extra. I bake the cobblers in 8 ounce porcelain ramekins, which make for a personal treat.It’s fun to dig into your own little dessert. If you don’t have ramekins you will find them a very useful addition to your kitchen collection. You can also use 8 ounce oven safe deep dishes.
If you can’t locate boysenberries, use fresh blackberries or a combination of blackberries and raspberries for a wonderful cobbler. For even more of a treat, top with a small scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream or low fat frozen yogurt.
A note on the recipe source: I’ve adapted it from what I think is old Williams-Sonoma recipe. I’ve checked their website but can’t find the same recipe.
If you need to make this gluten-free, use a GF blend such as Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free multi-purpose flour in place of the all purpose flour. Both are good quality.

Berry Cobbler with Boysenberries

If you can’t find boysenberries, use blackberries or a combination with raspberries.  I like to make personal cobblers in 8-ounce porcelain ramekins (sometimes called souffle cups) because everyone likes their own dessert. You can double the fruit and make it in a larger baking dish to serve more. While this is not exactly “health food”, at least you are not getting all of the fat and calories of a pastry piecrust. No crust makes this easy and fast to assemble and bake.
Serves: 2
¼ cup (22 grams) all purpose flour (or gluten-free blend such as Bob’s Red Mill)
¼ cup (22 grams) granulated sugar (I use organic evaporated cane sugar)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten (you’ll only need ½ for 2 servings)
Berry Filling
1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour (or gluten-free blend such as Bob’s Red Mill)
3 tablespoons (35 grams) granulated sugar
12-14 ounces (340-400 grams) fresh berries, about 2 ½ cups
2-3 tablespoons (30-45 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra to butter the ramekins
1)   Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees (190C).  While the oven is heating, make the topping and assemble the cobblers.
2)   For the topping, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and ½ of the egg in a small bowl and mix with your fingers, a fork or a pastry blender until well blended and crumbly. It will have a loose, sandy texture. Don’t use all of the egg (for 2 servings) or the topping will be too wet.
3)   For the filling, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl; add berries and toss gently to coat them.
4)   With a little of the extra butter and a paper towel or pastry brush, wipe the inside of the ramekins. Pour in the berries, dividing between the two ramekins. Press them in gently but don’t crush the berries. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the topping over the berries and drizzle with melted butter.
5)   Bake until the tops are golden and crusty and the berries are bubbly and hot, about 30-35 minutes. As ovens vary, check the cobblers early. When baking it helps to place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet for easier handling and to catch any drips.
6)   Cool briefly and enjoy alone or with a small scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream or low fat vanilla frozen yogurt.

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