This one is from Baking Illustrated.
Having had my fill (pun) of apples lately, I decided to try something with blueberries. I was tempted to make the yeasted lattice-style blueberry coffeecake from the same cookbook, but that recipe needed a whole day (at least) and had several new techniques that I would need to master in the process. Thus, I decided on the cobbler for my first foray into the berries of blue.
In retrospect, I’m very glad I chose to go this route. It wasn’t that the recipe was all that complicated or difficult, but rather that it turned out that I had to put it together while making dinner at the same time. Besides, those berries are seriously hard to work with. Talk about a mess!
For starters, I had only frozen blueberries. The book actually has a slightly alternate version to handle this so all was well. The first thing you need to do is thaw those suckers, saving the juice in the process. Blueberries stain everything they touch, from your fingers to your counters to your clothes, and anyone who thinks they can handle six cups of berries and not get at least ONE stain on something is fooling themselves. So my tip for the day is: When working with blueberries, wear your apron (and maybe some old clothes) and never EVER take them out of the kitchen. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s a lot easier to make a mistake than you think. I ran out of space in my kitchen (I was cooking dinner after all) and moved over to the dining room table. Then I realized that I was working over a rug and after a moment’s reflection (considering the other stains I had put on my flooring) I quietly moved back to the more crowded kitchen. It will tempt you again when you serve this dish. It’s just the kind of thing my daughter would love. And she would undoubtedly love it all over the place, bless her.
Baking is pretty straight forward. You have to reduce the juice until is “coats” a spoon, which took much longer than the recipe said it would, but I was half expecting it to turn into syrup or something. What happens is that it really does “coat” the spoon. It ends up looking a bit like cough syrup; thin, but still viscous instead of water-like. Then you bake the berries, and my 9 inch glass pie dish must be a little small. My berries filled it almost full.
You then make the “dough” which is a almost a “muffin” without cups. (Which is why this entry is in the “muffins” category as well as “pies” and “tips.” I’m not sure that a cobbler qualifies as either a pie or a muffin, but it sure looks like both, so…
The dough is spooned onto the surface of the berries in what the recipe called eight equal “pinches”. Okay, but my dough was a little soft to “pinch”. it was more like a thick batter. No matter. It worked fine. The only difference was that the book called for the pinches not to touch and be 1/2 inch apart. Again, my pan must be small or something. Whatever.
Baking should definately be done on a rimmed sheet (things expand and drip), and for a cleanup tip: Be sure to fill your pans and sheets with water and let them soak before you try and clean them. Baked blueberries will clean easy, and without pain, but your really do need to let the water soften them.
The end result was fabulous, and really, really went well with vanilla ice cream.