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I love fresh berries ~ blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries ~ especially in the summer when they are at their season’s best. Big, juicy, sweet, slightly acidic, they burst with flavor that is hot weather perfect.
When Nonna (Angiola Maria Novella Bonomi, the Italian grandmother in my book) first showed me this recipe, she was so excited, thinking that I had never seen a cobbler before. When I told her I had, it seemed to deflate her “culinary teaching” bubble. But, always ready to learn something new, I told her that I definitely wanted to see how she prepared one.
I’m not sure that “cobbler” is particularly Italian, but this recipe is VERY Italian in the sense that it does not use a lot of sugar, even though it is a dessert. It relies on the natural sweetness of the fresh berries. But don’t let this recipe keep you locked into the idea that it is only good for berries. When summer fruits like peaches, plums, or figs come into season, swap any of those in for the strawberries in this recipe. I really enjoy fresh peaches with blackberries and blueberries, but let your palate be your guide. In fact, here is a link to my fall season version, which uses fresh pumpkin, apples and pears.
Summer Berry Cobbler
For the berry filling:
1 pound strawberries, stem ends removed, cut into quarters
1 dry pint raspberries
1 dry pint blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup chiffonade fresh mint
For the topping:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and then cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch Kosher or sea salt
Powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish, set aside.
In a large bowl, add the berries, sugar, flour and mint, gently stirring until well combined. Set aside and allow to soak for 30 minutes. [This may be done up to 8 hours ahead and placed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator to soak until ready to use.]
Pour the fruit filling and all of the juices into the baking dish, distributing the fruit evenly. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the sugar, stirring to combine. Pour in the milk, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix until a smooth batter is formed. Pour the batter over the top of the fruit, making sure that it completely covers the fruit.
Place the baking dish on a baking sheet, in case it bubbles over, and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is nicely browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before serving. Spoon into individual bowls, dusting the top crust of each serving with powdered sugar.
Serves 6 to 8.