Easy Blackberry Cobbler Made with a Pinch of Love
In my family, food is love. After my grandfather passed, many years before I was born, my grandmother was never the same. The light went out of her eyes, the joy went out of her days, and her interest in life, and grandchildren, waned. In the 17 years of my life that she was alive, I barely knew her, despite multiple visits a year. The one way that she was able to connect with us, to love us, was through food.
Desserts were a favorite way to make us feel special in a way she wasn't able to with words or affection. In the summers when blackberries were plentiful, she made us blackberry cobbler. Last week when our blackberry bushes started to spill over with sweet, ripe berries, I heard her whisper to me, "Your kids haven't had my blackberry cobbler, yet. Let's go love them." I called the kids out to help me pick. Our family ducked in and out of the blackberry canes, testing for readiness with a gentle tug of each berry, picking only the very sweetest and best. We fed each other berries and exclaimed over their deliciousness. Our faces and hands were stained with summer as we headed into the house with our bounty.
My brother's wife and kids were coming for a visit, and my niece lives nearby for school, so we held off for two days until they could be part of a family tradition. Together we made my grandmother's special cobbler recipe, and introduced another generation of her family to a slice of Meme's love. Talking about my grandmother, her food, family recipes, and traditions while little hands rolled out crust and dumped in sugar made me feel close to her in a way that I never did when she was alive. Food was the only connection we ever had, and the way I'm able to hold on still.
Meme was the queen of in between. Everything was half homemade. She was smart enough to avail herself of some pre-made things while she whipped up a homemade feast. In this recipe it's the store-bought pie crusts. Since pie crust is an art I've not mastered, I'm happy to follow in her footsteps and buy what I can't make better.
Waiting for the piping hot cobbler to cool before we could slice into it left our mouths watering and tummies rumbling, but it was worth the agony when we got our first taste of pure summer goodness. Our blackberry bushes will continue to produce for the rest of the summer, so we may start having this every Sunday to embrace summer, a tradition of love and family...and a bigger pant size.
Old-Fashioned Blackberry Cobbler
4 thawed Pillsbury Pie Crusts
4 pounds of fresh blackberries or 4 1-pound bags frozen blackberries
2 ¼ cups sugar (when the berries are as sweet as the ones I grow, you can cut this in half. If using store-bought, use all the sugar)
¾ cup flour
1 stick butter
Spread saran wrap on the counter and sprinkle with lots of flour. Lay out 2 thawed Pillsbury Pie Crusts slightly overlapping. Press the overlapped seams together and roll out with a rolling pin until it’s 4” bigger than 9X13. Lay it out it in a 9X13 pan. Prick the crust all over - even the sides - with a fork.
Cut off the parts that hang over the edge of the pan.* Pre-cook the empty crust for 5 minutes at 450 degrees.
Mix together the sugar and flour and gently mix in the berries. Cut the butter in pats and put it on top of the berries. Put this mixture in the browned crust.
On top of the berry mixture put another 2 crusts rolled out like the first two. Trim 2 inches extra around the sides and pinch together. Cut slits in the crust and spread soft butter on top. Sprinkle with sugar. Put tin foil around the edges of the cobbler to keep them from burning.
Bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
*Meme also baked the extra crust cut off the sides on a cookie sheet, covered with soft butter and sugar until brown. These were just for eating, and they are delicious! I like to serve them with the middle pieces because I love the corners with the extra crust.
This is very important. Do not slice into this heavenly dish while it's hot, tempting though it is. All of the filling will run out with the first slice. Allow it to cool completely before slicing, and then warm in the microwave or oven if hot is your preference. Add a side of vanilla ice cream, and this dessert is what summer dreams, and a grandmother's unspoken love, are made of.
Food traditions are some of my favorites, because they are so easy to share and to repeat. I loved bringing Meme, and a piece of my childhood, to life for my family.
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