- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Thanks to growers in California and Florida, fresh strawberries are available most of the year. But if you’re looking for small crimson berries that are tender and exceptionally sweet, you’ll want to take advantage of local crops in stores and at farmers markets now.

Nearby harvests are yielding berries that are tender, sugary and oh, so tempting. If you’re any kind of berry lover, you’ll buy double what you anticipate needing. One pint of strawberries can be for instant berry gratification and the second for a delicious cobbler.

When making a cobbler, use the juiciest berries. As a test, toss the berries with the sugar, flour and lemon zest many recipes call for. If the mixture doesn’t give off any liquids the baked cobbler will be dry. To counteract this, you can stir in a couple tablespoons of orange or apple juice or start again with better quality berries.

To celebrate the upcoming July Fourth weekend, turn strawberry cobbler into a red, white and blue dessert. Top the strawberries with biscuits studded with blackberries that are a deep shade of blue or mix blueberries into the batter. Slather on whipped cream and enjoy a berry dessert that tastes its best in the summer.

Strawberry cobbler with blackberry biscuits

3 cups sliced strawberries

1/4 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons flour

Blackberry biscuits (recipe follows)

Whipped cream topping, optional (recipe follows)

Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon zest and flour in a bowl. Toss gently to mix. Spoon into 8-inch glass pie pan. Set aside 10 minutes for juices to form in the mixture.

Prepare blackberry biscuits, and drop the batter by heaping tablespoons over the strawberry mixture. Bake cobbler in preheated 400-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until biscuits are golden and strawberry mixture is bubbling. To serve, prepare whipped cream topping, if desired. Spoon cobbler into 2 deep bowls and apply topping, if using. Makes 2 servings.

BLACKBERRY BISCUITS:

½ cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons butter, cut in small chunks

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup fresh blackberries, halved if desired

Combine flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl. Stir. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in milk to form a wet batter. Gently fold in blackberries.

WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING:

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until soft peaks form.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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