Mini Blackberry Cobblers

Last summer my stepmother got us hooked on, a site where you build your family tree using old census, immigration, marriage, birth & death records. I didn’t realize how enjoyable it would be, but it’s like a big relaxing logic puzzle where the reward is finding your roots. The jackpot, of course, is when you find a relative and someone has posted old photos. This happened to us over holiday break. Fuzz and I were working on a school family tree project and found photos of my step-grandma, Bessie –a lady who had a big influence on my cooking but who died before I could tell her. Because it was one of her specialties, last night’s recipe was dedicated to her.

Bessie used to make terrific blackberry cobbler. I think she probably used frozen berries more often than not, and she made the cobbler in a big 13×9 inch dish because her house was always full of guests. For this recipe, I used fresh blackberries (here in Texas we get them from Mexico and they’re pretty inexpensive) and made the cobblers in mini souffle dishes.

You can make two servings using two oven-proof casserole dishes or soup crocks (like the 10-20 oz kind) or you can make 4 mini’s using little 4 oz porcelain souffe dishes. I experimented and made a little of both. I think the 4 serving size is more practical.  Todd couldn’t finish the larger one.

Mini Cobbler

Mini Blackberry Cobblers

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3.5 oz)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter (I used unsalted)
1 tablespoon shortening
1-3 tablespoons cold water

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Butter for greasing Ramekins
1 egg, light beaten
Sparkling Sugar

Combine the flour, sugar and salt ina large mixing bowl. Cut in butter and shortening (I do it with fingers) until mixture appears coarse. Add 1 tablespoon of water and try to bring together in a ball. If dough seems dry, add more water. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill until ready to use. I like to do this step early in the day.

When ready to bake, let pastry come to room temperature. Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Add the berries and toss until coated. Pour in the lemon juice and toss to mix. Generously butter 4 oz soufflé dishes or ramekins or 2 oven proof soup bowls and divide berry mixture between them. Roll pastry into square or rectangle and cut it into strips that are about ¾ inch wide. I wasn’t very careful about how I measured out the strips, but in the end you’ll need something like 16 strips that are each about ¾ inch wide and 2 inches across. Arrange 4 strips in a lattice across top of each serving. Brush strips with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little sugar, set on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes at 375 F.

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  1. Louise says

    I was wondering what you were making. We get the berries really cheap too. Sometimes they are from Mexico, sometimes from Chile or Argentina. Blueberries and blackberries have been very tasty.

  2. says

    What a great recipe and story in honor of Bessie. We love genealogy and finding our ancestors. I’ve bought blueberries lately that are good and make me happy to find in the winter.

  3. says

    Louise, it wasn’t fancy but it was good cobbler!

    Katrina, you could probably make this with blueberries. Our blueberries are pretty reasonably priced too.

    Another thing you can do with this cobbler is use the leftover filling (say you make 4 and only 1 or 2 people eat it) as waffle or pancake topping.

  4. Amanda says

    What fantastic old photos! If Bessie was influential for what you do here on this site, then I owe her a thanks too. I enjoy waking up to your posts and trying to bake something new everyday. Cobbler would be new to me, but I only have frozen blueberries. After all, if Bessie used frozen berries, I can too.

  5. says

    Krystle, I was worried the cobblers wouldn’t be big enough in the little ramekins (though I guess technically those are souffle dishes), but they’re the perfect small dessert. You can also assembled them ahead of time and bake when ready to eat.

    MaryEllen, I never realized how pretty she was! There were other pictures too.

    Amanda, let me know if you try making these with blueberries.

  6. Jennifer says

    Love the photos! How much information do you need to find records at Like if you have names, but no birth dates and little other information, is it do-able?

    I actually have frozen blackberries on hand, so I’ll have to make this as part of our Sunday dinner. I’ve never attempted to do any type of lattice with pastry, and with the smaller sized dessert, it looks more manageable.

  7. says

    Jennifer, all you really need for birth dates is the approximate year. From there, you look at census, marriage, birth, war records that have all been scanned. It’s fun because in most cases you get to see a copy of the exact census or the old record with the relative’s signature on it.

  8. says

    One more thing. A lot of the records have old addresses on them so you can find an address where one of your great, great, grandparents lived and then look it up on Google Maps street view and see what’s there now.

  9. Jennifer says

    That’s good to know! I’ve always been curious about, but have so little information about my ancestors, so I was thinking I’d be disappointed.
    Oh, and on the baking front, I think I’ll be making two of your recipes this weekend, the east breadsticks and the cobblers.

  10. says

    What a great story! Good luck with completing your family tree.

    I love making single servings in ramekins. These look wonderful. We can get fresh blackberries here still — I usually don’t buy them because they are the only berry Jamie doesn’t like. But I bet he would like them in a baked treat like this. Your photo reminded me of the Logan berries I grew up on grown in our area.

  11. says

    Blackberries or any fruit with pie crust is a winner! Do think this would work in a 8×8 baking pan? Do you think I would need to double the filling?

  12. Diane Turley says

    Thanks…I love blackberry cobbler. This will be perfect as I won’t have a large cobbler leftover calling my name.

  13. Amanda says

    Love that story Anna. My uncle is heavy into geneology. He’s found sooo much it’s amazing. Love the idea of the mini cobblers too. I have a bunch of homemade cherry pie filling I need to use up before summer, so I might just be trying these 🙂

  14. Anonymous says

    Very Cool Ann. I have always wanted to do, I am just not sure where I would find the time. I know it would be addicting. The blackberry cobblers look perfect

  15. says

    I have always wanted to do Ancestry .com, I just have no clue where I would find the time. Love the black berry cobblers. They look perfect

  16. says

    I love those two pictures of Bessie. It’s great to have a recipe that’s tied to a person – you think of them every time you enjoy it. Love the mini cobbler!

  17. Dee says

    Made these tonight for a Father’s Day dessert! Terrific! I always read your blog (I also won the cupcake tower that you gave away!) so I looked here first for a berry dessert…thanks 😉

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