Whoa, how delicious does this berry cobbler look? Julie of Willow Bird Baking says that her cobbler “makes for a sweet date: two forks, a skillet of cobbler, some ice cream and a warm night on the patio.” Here’s how to whip one up…

The Best Berry Cobbler You’ll Ever Have
By Julie of Willow Bird Baking

When you ask for cobbler, you might receive very different things depending on your geographical location, heritage, disposition, and maybe even hair color. There are cobblers that use pie pastry, cobblers that use crumble topping, cobblers that use a light batter. There are brown betties, crumbles, buckles, pandowdies, grunts, and apparently something from my own state, North Carolina, called the Sonker, though I’ve yet to try it. The only sure thing in a cobbler is fruit and goodness.

This particular cobbler is one my mom used to make for me and my four siblings, and we all clamored for it! She used a big can of peaches—and you could certainly do so, too—but I chose to freshen it up here with bright berries. Cooking a portion of the berries to bursting on the stove ensures that there’s enough liquid to mimic the sauce from canned fruit, and a little lemon zest brightens up the whole dessert. She called it a “cobbler cake” because of the saturated, cake-like couch surrounding the fruit.

The best thing about cobblers? They’re thrown together with very little effort—this will take about 15 minutes of prep time once you’ve washed and sliced your berries. Do take the time to measure your ingredients and set out your supplies before you begin. This preparation (called “mise en place,” or “putting in place”) may seem like extra effort, but I promise it will actually make baking simpler and more fun for you!

I eat my cobbler right out of the skillet (you can use a 9 x 13-inch baking dish if you don’t have one). It saves dishes, but more important, it makes for a sweet summer date: two forks, a skillet of cobbler, some ice cream and a warm night on the patio.

Recipe: The Best Berry Cobbler

You’ll need:
1 cup flour
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
Dash of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup blueberries, divided
1 cup raspberries, divided
1 cup quartered strawberries
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Measure out your ingredients; wash and cut your berries. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium saucepan, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup raspberries and 1/4 cup water. Cook them over medium-high heat until the berries burst and release their juices and the mixture begins to thicken, about 10-12 minutes. Pour this into a bowl to cool slightly while you complete the following steps.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Set these dry ingredients aside while you melt the stick of butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and mix until the lumps are gone (the batter will be very liquid) and then pour this batter over top of the melted butter.

Gently mix the slightly cooled cooked fruit with the leftover uncooked fruit and lemon zest before pouring it around the top of the batter. Do NOT stir this—just let it fall where it falls! Bake the cobbler for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and almost set. Serve hot with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

WOW. Thank you, Julie!

P.S. More best recipes, including caramel apple pie and chocolate-chunk cookies.

(Photos and recipe by Julie from Willow Bird Baking. Thanks to Shoko for help with this series.)