Cobbler can evoke memories of childhood and family gatherings, summer afternoons and home comforts. It’s rustic and homey, one of those desserts that can make you all warm inside.
At Olivette at The Houstonian, pastry chef Catherine Rodriguez is ringing in summer early with her Texas blueberry cobbler. Rodriguez has been adding more regional desserts to her menu so hotel guests and visitors can get a taste of Texas.
“If you go to Florida you want key lime pie, if you go to Maine you get lobster rolls, if you come to Texas you get cobbler and pecan pie,” she said.
So what makes a good southern cobbler? Aside from a fresh fruit filling, the biscuit top is key. Rodriguez says people often confuse cobblers with crisps or crumbles. While all three involve fruit fillings and some sort of pastry, crisps and crumbles have more of a streusel topping made with flour, sugar and butter -- and in the case of a crisp, nuts and oats as well. The biscuit top is essentially what makes a cobbler a cobbler.
At Olivette, Rodriguez brushes the buttermilk biscuit top with egg wash and sprinkles it with sugar crystals before baking for a sweet and shiny finish. Then, out of the oven, she brushes the top with honey butter or cream for extra sweetness or richness. Rodriguez also adds ingredients such as candied ginger, lemon or orange zest and vanilla for added flavor. These are all things that the home cook can replicate to make the humble cobbler a little more special.
Entering into summer, the cobblers at Olivette will change to peach, and apple cobbler will make an appearance come fall. Yet you don’t have to make a trip there to enjoy Rodriguez’s decadent treat (although it’s not a bad idea). Try making it at home with her Texas Blueberry Cobbler recipe.
Texas Blueberry Cobbler
- 6 cups Texas blueberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Mix sugar with blueberries.
- Make a slurry (a thin paste) with the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla.
- Combine the slurry with the blueberries.
- Fill a buttered 9” round baking dish with the blueberry mixture.
- 2 cups pastry flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour out onto a clean and flat surface or countertop.
- Add cubed butter and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Use your fingertips and a dough scraper to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the largest piece of butter is no bigger than a pea.
- Stir in the lemon zest.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Use a fork to stir the flour and buttermilk together until the flour is all moistened. Do not overwork the dough.
- Crumble the cobbler dough over the top of the blueberries in the baking dish.
- Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with AA sugar or granulated sugar.
- Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes and then 350°F for 20 minutes