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Culinary Class: Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

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Here’s the Scoop

Easier than pie, cobblers are made for summer fruits

Written by Lia Grabowski | Photos by Jonathan Boncek

There’s no shortage of ways to combine fruit and dough into a summer treat. You’ve got your pies, buckles, crisps, brown bettys, and sonkers—the list goes on. Then there’s the cobbler, an overarching term for a deep-dish dessert dating back to colonial days in which fruit is topped by or enclosed in dough. In the South, that usually means biscuit dough, and whatever fresh fruit is on hand: blackberry, peach, and blueberry are common variations, but apple and cherry also work. In this version, we’ve upped the Southern ante with the addition of a cornmeal topping for crunch and sweet corn goodness. While there’s no definitive conclusion about the origins of the dish’s name (some say it’s from the archaic Middle English word cobeler, meaning wooden bowl), you’ll notice the cornmeal biscuits in this recipe expand in the oven, reminiscent of golden-brown cobblestone streets. When getting started, taste your blueberries to determine if you need the squeeze of lemon juice: Commercial blueberries are less acidic than ones from roadside farm stands, so they’ll benefit more from a pop of acid. It’s tempting to skip the tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) and reach for the flour or cornstarch that is likely in your pantry, but resist the urge. Tapioca has a more neutral flavor than its counterparts and will leave a clearer gloss on the berries. The longer you let the cobbler cool before serving, the more the filling will set. But if you don’t mind a bit of a mess, feel free to dive right in.