It’s blackberry time. You may not be able to comprehend what that means at the Mayhew household. Blackberries only come into season about three weeks during the entire year and they involve one of Mark’s most intense food memories.
When Mark was a little boy he would go blackberry picking with his Granny Belle, who was actually his great-grandmother. Granny Belle was a character. She had little formal education, but was more than wise in the ways of what we would now call street smarts. Granny Belle was a tiny woman who commanded the troops in her family like the general she would have been had she only been born a man. Which actually wouldn’t have been a good idea in the Rogers family. The Rogers women tended to run off men on purpose. They were (and still are) that strong willed. The men were allowed to stay around just long enough to produce children and then they suddenly disappeared. As I said…run off.
Granny Belle made all the recipes I would have loved to stand at her shoulder (looking down quite a ways) to learn. Biscuits. Cornbread. Yeast rolls. Green beans with fatback. The good stuff. And blackberry cobbler. Every year, Mark would follow her to the blackberry patch and spend hours gathering blackberries. Time was of the essence. The harvesting season was short.
Today that is an incredibly vivid food memory for Mark. So every year, I make blackberry cobbler. It sharpens that food memory. It brings Granny Belle back in focus. He says my blackberry cobbler is just as good as hers. I doubt that Granny Belle would agree. But I take the complement.
4 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Juice from half a lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten with a fork
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put blackberries in a two-quart casserole and mix gently with sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice to keep the berries as whole as possible. Set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Stir in milk, butter and egg. Combine thoroughly.
Spread dough mixture over berries. Sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake 30 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.
(Note: If you have it, there’s nothing better than a good quality vanilla ice cream served with warm blackberry cobbler.)