Out of Season

I know that I am the one who is always telling you to eat seasonally, and to eat locally. But, there are times when I am weak and cave into a sale at the grocery store on some fantastic produce that looks just too good to be true! (Or, as Mark would say, "Too true to be good!")

This happens most often with berries. I have a hard time resisting big, plump raspberries or blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. Happily, fresh, farm-raised strawberries just came into the Tucson farmers market in the past couple of weeks. While not from Arizona, they are from just across the border in California and, for me, that denotes local. The farmer drove them here, and it was she who tempted me to try one and, thus, buy a couple of pints. But, I digress...

This post today is about being bad. This is about the day that I went to my local Safeway (fill in the name of your local grocery store here) and they had the most beautiful, plump, juicy-looking blackberries I had ever seen. And they were 2 pints for $3.00! Normally, they would be around $4.00 per pint - or even half pint!

Forgive me, dear readers, for I sinned. I bought 4 pints without the slightest guilt - nor with any idea what I would make with them.

So, there I was in my kitchen - mid-winter - with a summer's bounty in front of me. Jam? Pie? Tart? I wish I had seen Anna’s post for Blackberry and Lime Yoghurt Cake on The Littlest Anchovy that day, as it would have been perfect. But I decided to make a Blackberry Swirl Cobbler, which was also pretty darned perfect!

This is an easy recipe to pull together, although the rolling of the berries in the dough can be somewhat messy. The first time I made it, I balked at the thought of pouring all the liquid over top. But it works, and it works well. The recipe here is the basic version, but from time to time I have replaced the simple syrup with juices (apricot or peach nectar, mostly) and it has been successful, although the sweetness and texture are somewhat different.

Every once in a while, we need to be bad. And, if you are going to be bad, it might as well taste good!

- David

Blackberry Swirl Cobbler

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
16 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup whole milk
3 cups fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons coarse sugar, or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make simple syrup. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till all sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Melt 8 tablespoons butter in 10-inch round or oval baking dish; set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add remaining 8 tablespoons chilled butter (in 8 pieces) and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and pulse just until a dough forms. Turn out on floured board and pull together into a mass of dough; knead 3 or 4 times. Roll out to 11-inch by 9-inch by ¼-inch thick rectangle.

Sprinkle the dough with cinnamon and use a brush to distribute it evenly. Spread berries over dough and roll up like a jellyroll. Cut into 1 1/4 -inch thick slices.

Carefully place swirls in the prepared pan on top of the melted butter. (Berries will fall out – just replace them!) Pour simple syrup carefully over and around swirls. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over crust and bake 15 minutes more. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of ice cream.

Makes 6-8 servings. (…or 7 servings, if everyone gets their own swirl!)


  1. i am sure it tastes as good as it looks...btw, any suggestions for Paris- mom and i go in May (end)~

  2. Oh, yes! Paris in May should be lovely! La Charlotte de l'isle has the best hot chocolate in the world (and the pastries aren't too bad, either!) It is pretty bohemian - for a fancier cup of Chocolat à l'Africain, try Angélina on the Rue de Rivoli. It is the type of place your grandmother would have taken you for hot chocolate in your special Sunday dress. Museum-wise, one of our favorites is Le Musée de l'Institut du Monde Arabe - amazing collection, stunning architecture (one whole wall is lenses that are light sensitive), and a great restaurant. Amusez-vous bien et Bon Voyage!

  3. This looks so impressive (and very delicious)! There's nothing better than finding berries on sale at the grocery store, so it's definitely good to take advantage of that once in a while!

  4. I am glad you made this. I would never feel guilty about buying those out of season, they look so good,they WANTED to be bought.
    What a fantastic cobbler, I have never seen one like this before :)
    Thanks for the linkback, have a great week!

  5. Tulika - don't you love when a recipe looks really impressive but is actually pretty easy? And even better when they taste good, too!

    Anna - you are most welcome for the linkback - I can't wait to try your cake! And I love the idea that the berries WANTED to be bought! Perfect!

  6. YES PLEASE!!!! As Mae West said...'when I'm good, I'm good, but when I'm bad, I'm BETTER"!

    ;-) K

  7. I always thought you looked a bit West-ish to me, Karin!

  8. Every inspirational cook is driven by his or her id. Your readers are very happy you were bad! This looks delicious and it is so different. i checked out the Blackberry and Lime Yoghurt cake- which also looks delicious - and will no doubt require a trip bake to Safeway, eh?

  9. Susan, Alas the blackberry sale has ended but there will be another and then I will make the cake! Glad you enjoyed the blackberry swirls!


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