Monday, April 7, 2014

Easter Practice: Blueberry Cobbler with Cookie Dough Topping

For whatever reason, I always insist on practicing desserts I intend on making for an event some time beforehand for no real reason.

This seems logical, right?  The problem is that typically during the "practice run" the dessert will come together beautifully, taste perfect and look great, while then when I try to do it for real, some component isn't setting up right and the whole thing turns into a mess.  A good case in point would be my Bailey's truffles from the holiday season - I made them for a good friend's potluck and they were amazing and looked perfect, even though I wasn't overly concerned with how they looked since this friend has seen a ton of my baking creations and knows what I'm capable of (and how limited that is in terms of making things look appealing).  When I went to make them again for a friend's family Christmas party where no one has ever tried anything of mine before, I expected to breeze through the process again but this time the filling wasn't setting, the chocolate wasn't tempering and kept curdling, and the truffles absolutely needed to be refrigerated to make them not near impossible to eat.


You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now but I know if I skipped the practice run, I'd happen to pick a recipe that just doesn't work at all (looking at you, Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook recipes) and then I'd still be similarly panicked.

In looking for some way to use up a ton of blueberries that didn't require muddling at the bottom of a glass, I flipped through my mom's recipe box under "BLUEBERRY" until I found a recipe that she had already used (and written "very good" at the top of) so I knew my dessert craving would not be left unsatisfied by another bizarrely salty iteration of some fad dessert.

I had never made a cobbler before and did not at all anticipate how easy this would be.  It seriously took less than 15 minutes for this thing to be in the oven, and that's including time standing around waiting for the oven to heat up.  It was absolutely amazing warm with some vanilla ice cream on top, as the ice cream melting over the sugar cookie-esque topping made for the perfect juxtaposition with the slightly tart berry filling.  I halved the recipe and made it in an 8.5" round pan but only because I have no self control when it comes to resisting temptation.

Blueberry Cobbler with Cookie Dough Topping
recipe from Cook's Illustrated August 1990

For the filling - 
  • 4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 5 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 3/4 Cup orange juice [GE: I used fresh squeezed for better flavor]
For the topping - 
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Mix the filling ingredients in a 13x9" pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients for the topping (flour, baking powder, salt) in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla; stir until blended.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Drop the topping dough by the tablespoon on top of your filling, trying to cover the filling with even amounts without flattening and spreading out the dough.
  7. Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the topping is a golden brown.
  8. Let it cool a little and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Since I will be away the weekend before, I'm looking for some good make-ahead Easter desserts and while this was delicious, I don't think it satisfies that requirement.  Any suggestions?

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