Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blackberry Cobbler with White Peach Sorbet

One of the many reasons to look forward to summer is that, in Seattle, it's blackberry season. Blackberry bushes are everywhere here. They grow like weeds and it's not uncommon to see people pulled over to the side of a busy city street picking a few right off a wild vine. The best place to pick them is in one of our favorite spots in the city: Discovery Park. There are a few acres of prairie that have blackberry bushes everywhere. You can just grab a bucket and have at 'em.

A couple of Sundays ago, we spent a good hour out there picking berries and earning the battle scars from the thorns that got in our way. My legs were torn to shreds, but it was worth it. We came home with a couple of pounds, a haul that would have easily cost $50 or $60 at the store.

A bounty like this called for cobbler. I'd been wanting to make peach ice cream as well, but it would take a day or so to get that frozen just right. Sorbet was the perfect quick and easy solution. I used white peaches for this, but you really can use any kind you like. If you're in Washington, it's the best time of year to get peaches. I highly recommend the Pence peaches from a neighborhood farmer's market or Metropolitan Market. These white peaches came from the same orchard.


For the cobbler:
5 cups blackberries
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 unbleached flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

For the sorbet:
2 cups evaporated cane sugar
1 cup water
3 peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp liquor

Make the sorbet: Combine the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside. To peel the peaches, bring a pot of water to a boil. While it's heating up, take a knife and cut a small X onto the top and bottom of the peaches.

Drop the peaches into the boiling water and let them boil for about 20 seconds, then remove them to a bowl. Keep the water going because as you peel the peaches, you may find that one or two need some more time. If you do put a peach back into the water, don't let it boil more than 10 seconds or so. Starting at the X, pull the skin off the peaches until it's all off and the flesh is all exposed.

Once you've peeled the peaches, slice them around the pit and pull them apart. Cut the pit apart and discard it. Slice the peaches into quarters. Put the peach slices into a blender with the lemon juice and puree for 30-45 seconds. Pour the peach puree into a large bowl and whisk in the sugar syrup. Cover and put it in the refrigerator until it's chilled completely, about 1 or 2 hours.

When it's chilled completely, whisk in the liquor. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process it according to the instructions. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze it until firm. It should take about 4 hours or so.

Make the cobbler: Mix the blackberries with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and the cornstarch. Pour them into a square 8x8 1/2" baking dish, cook them in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. This will help break them down a bit ahead of time, so the batter can get into the berries a little easier. They'll still be firm after 20 minutes in the oven, just a little softer and juicier.

While they're in the oven, mix the remaining ingredients into a batter. Pour it over the top of the berries, making sure to spread it around until it covers the top of the dish completely. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. It'll come out golden and bubbly.

Slice it or spoon it onto a plate and serve with the sorbet or your favorite ice cream. I like to sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top as well.

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