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Berry Cobbler

It happens every year. Without planning, it always seems that I use up the last bit of frozen blackberries from the previous season right around the time when the new season’s berries are making their way towards ripeness.

In the last few days, a huge volume of flowers on my old tangle of blackberry bushes have given way to an equally prodigious amount of green berries that should begin to ripen in a couple weeks. As if on cue, I combined my last bag of frozen berries with some fresh blueberries and strawberries to make a berry cobbler. The single remaining container of blackberry coulis in the freezer will no doubt be enjoyed in the next few weeks, just as we prepare to pick berries and start the delicious cycle all over again.

This berry cobbler is a variation on the Mixed Fruit Cobbler recipe from Vegan on the Cheap. The original recipe uses peaches, plums, and pineapple, but as I say in the headnote, you can substitute any fruits you prefer, so I did an all-berry version.

Instead of making the cobbler in the usual baking dish, this time I made individual cobblers in mini-springform pans. After baking and cooling for a few minutes, I placed each mini-cobbler in a shallow bowl and removed the sides of the springform pan. It makes a cute presentation this way and, as with any cobbler, is even better when served warm with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream. Here’s the recipe:

Mixed Fruit Cobbler
Use whatever fruit combination you wish — you should have about 4 cups of fruit filling total.
(Recipe from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons.)

3 to 4 ripe peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, and chopped
3 ripe plums, peeled, halved, pitted, and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained, reserving 2/3 cup juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegan margarine, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Combine the peaches, plums, and pineapple in the bottom of the prepared dish and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the pineapple juice, margarine, and vanilla and mix until well blended.
3. Drop the dough onto the filling with a large spoon to cover. It’s okay if it’s uneven: rustic is good. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Serve warm.

Tips and Variations:

1. If your fruit is less than perfectly sweet, mix about 2 tablespoons of sugar into the fruit. (You can also add 1/2 teaspoon or so of cinnamon or other spice, if you want to.)

2. If you prefer your fruit filling to be more “saucy” than “juicy” sprinkle on a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch when you add the sugar and mix in to coat the fruit.

3. When you spoon on the topping, keep it thin near the middle of the cobbler so that it bakes all the way through.