Blueberry cobbler is at the heart of my fiction short story—My Father, The Bear—which follows a young woman who visits her elder father and learns about who he really is after being somewhat confused about him her whole life.

We all have reminders of food that connect us in powerful ways. I love this story because this gruff man has a soft side, showing his family how much he cares for them through cooking. We’ve all known someone like this in our lives who we’ve misjudged from a first impression, sometimes learning that they are quite the opposite when we peel back the layers of the onion.

My experience with cobblers came later in life. We never had any when I was growing up. The first time I had cobbler was with my husband’s Southern family. Its simplicity enthralled me, showcasing the beauty of fresh, seasonal fruit with a delightful biscuit-like topping. For years, I was intimidated to make it myself because biscuit dough fell squarely under the expertise of my Southern mother-in-law. But, some years ago, I asked her to teach me and we had a wonderful day in her kitchen. Now, I think about how silly it was for me to be intimidated by making cobbler. It’s very easy and so versatile because you can use any fruit that is in season around you.

 

In my humble opinion, the blueberry cobbler is one of the highest expressions of the method. I use Chez Panisse’s recipe because I do not like desserts that are too sweet. Their recipe uses a scant 1/3 cup of sugar for a lot of blueberries, letting the sweetness of the fruit shine. I also love that the dough doesn’t cover the berries perfectly, allowing some of the juice to touch and cover the dough. If you are a cobbler fan, you will love this recipe. And, in typical CG style, you can replace the blueberries with any fruit that you like as long as it is fresh and in season.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my personal experience at Chez Panisse. If you’ve never been there, it is considered the birthplace of farm-to-table cooking under the expert direction of Alice Waters. It is a small, two-story restaurant in Berkeley, California, producing the most exquisite food imaginable. I visited on a warm day for lunch, delighting in the menu while sipping my first rosé wine from Bandol, which I still drink. Thank you, Alice Waters, for changing the way we appreciate food. And for setting me on a course to espouse the farm-to-table movement in our own homes.

Chez Panisse Blueberry Cobbler

Ingredients
Berries:

4.5 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon AP flour

Dough:
1.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1.5 tablespoons sugar
2.75 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the cleaned, dry berries in a bowl and toss with the sugar and flour. Set aside.

Make the dough by mixing the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. [Pro Tip: When cutting in very cold/frozen butter to biscuit dough, use a box grater. It will make your life much easier.] Add the cream and mix lightly, just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Put the blueberries in a pie plate, 1.5-quart gratin, or baking dish. Make patties out of the dough, approximately 2-2.5 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Arrange them over the top of the berries. Bake until the topping is brown and the juices bubble thickly around it, about 35-40 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.