The weather in Milwaukee this week has been strange to say the least. With temperatures hovering around 55 for the first few days, we thought we had driven south on 55 rather than north. That was until today. Woke up to low 30s and snow! Seemed like the perfect day to bake something and I settled on a blackberry/raspberry cast iron skillet cobbler.
This is sometimes called a grunt, an upside-down pie, a skillet pie, or a skillet cobbler. Thanks to Alton Brown for the general recipe, although I tweaked it slightly and cheated a little by using a method I found in another recipe that called for pre-made biscuits. I am providing the original recipe and below that an explanation of what I changed.
- 9 1/2 ounces all purpose flour, approximately 2 cups
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 pound 3 ounces fresh or frozen blackberries, approximately 4 cups
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet so I needed more filling.
- I used 6 cups blackberries, 2 cups raspberries, even this only filled the skillet halfway after cooking down.
- I increased to 1 tsp ginger but kept the sugar the same.
- The 1 cup of water was way too much liquid so I ended up draining at least 3=4 cups of juice back out of the pan as the filling cooked down.
- I used 11 Target brand, jumbo buttermilk biscuits, these are sold in rolls of 8.
- I sprinkled a little brown sugar on top of the biscuits before placing the pan in the oven.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a piece of foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any drippings.
Place the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and process for 3 to 4 pulses. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until about half of the fat disappears and the rest is left in pea-size pieces. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until it comes together. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper that has been lightly dusted with flour, shape into a ball and wrap and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Combine the blackberries, sugar, water and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place over medium heat. Bring this to a simmer decrease the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator (or biscuits from roll) and gently drop (or arrange) it on the fruit mixture using a 1-ounce disher or large spoon, evenly distributing it over the top.
Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and allow the grunt to cool for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
The flavor and sweetness turned out perfect. I prefer berry pies to be a little tart and draining the excess liquid took out just the right amount of sugar. The consistency is still quite loose and more like a berry topping than cobbler. I think this recipe really needs potato starch or tapioca to thicken it up. Will add some next time and skip the water. Overall, I’d say this was a baking success.