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Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 12:01 a.m.

Dark Days Challenge: Effortless cobbler

Simple berry dessert is delicious with local ingredients

  • Local strawberry batter cobbler is ready in about an hour with very little prep time.

    Sarah Jackson / The Herald

    Local strawberry batter cobbler is ready in about an hour with very little prep time.

  • Batter cobbler, made with local strawberries, sparkles with sprinkled sugar after coming out of the oven.

    Sarah Jackson / The Herald

    Batter cobbler, made with local strawberries, sparkles with sprinkled sugar after coming out of the oven.

It was time for some spring cleaning.
I’m talking about my ridiculously full freezer, home to local strawberries I think I purchased last summer at the U District Farmers Market.
Cobbler, strawberry cobbler, was the glorious, glorious answer for Week 18 of the eat-local Dark Days Challenge.
Acting on a suggestion from my editor, I used a lovely little batter cobbler recipe by USA Weekend columnist Pam Anderson posted on, rated 4.5 stars out of 5 by 456 people.
I’m not sure I’ll ever make any other dessert for company again. And I thought apple crisp for Week 9 was easy.
I spent about 10 minutes gathering, measuring and mixing the ingredients and threw it all in the oven just before we sat down to dinner (which was leftover takeout food reheated in the microwave).
Our cobbler was out of the oven and had slightly cooled just in time to be a warm, decadent dessert, the highlight of the meal.
I like to think of all cooking as a sort of wondrous alchemy, but this cobbler was particularly special.
You melt the butter, a lot of it, in the pan right in the oven, which means no extra dish gets dirty.
Then you add the simplest batter you’ll ever make, sprinkle on some berries and — very important — sugar.
Then you watch the magic happen.
Butter miraculously subsumes the batter. Batter subsumes the berries and you’re left with a rustic, cakey delight, golden brown like a cookie on the edges, but not dry.
How could it be dry with all that butter, right?
I loved the copious amount of cakelike cooked batter, but if you’re big into fruity cobblers, and not so much batter, you might want to adjust the fruit to dry ingredients ratio.
I think you’ll be happy either way.
I threw in a dash of cinnamon, an homage to my aunt-in-law, Starla, a blackberry cobbler queen.
You can localize cobbler easily with local butter, flour, milk and berries combined with nonlocal sugar, baking powder and salt.
This is such a keeper recipe for high summer when berries and fruit are fresh and for Dark Days when your oven is more apt to be humming and you’re longing for a taste of summer.
Find more Dark Days ideas at
Easy batter fruit cobbler

4 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

2 cups sliced fresh peaches, nectarines, whole blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or a combination of fruits or a 12-ounce package of frozen berries
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 350 degrees.
Put butter in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan; set in oven to melt. When butter has melted, remove pan from oven.
Whisk flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter.
Pour batter into pan, then scatter fruit over batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Bake until batter browns and fruit bubbles, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Story tags » FoodCookingLocal Food

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