When traveling, you end up eating in restaurants. Whenever possible, we avoid the big chain establishments, looking for the local Mom and Pop smaller establishments. After all, you can eat at Denny’s anytime. Now there are exceptions – Shari’s is one such exception. For one thing, Shari’s isn’t on every corner. The first time we ate at Shari’s was in Idaho. The food was awesome, the service friendly and the pie selection was amazing. In Oregon, Shari’s are almost as common as Denny’s. At least in the larger towns. Their fruit pies and cobblers are made with whatever is in season. In the summer they serve up a great Blackberry Cobbler.
While we were shooting the rapids on the Rough River, we had lunch in Agness, Oregon. It’s one of those places that is very remote – you don’t pass through Agness on your way to someplace else. If you visit Agness, you intended to go there, as in Agness is your destination. There are two rustic lodge/restaurants that the jet boats stop at for lunch. We had an awesome buffet featuring what had to be the best fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. There was a nice salad bar and a cupcake dessert table. From the landing dock on the river, it’s a short but very steep climb to the restaurant. (Thank goodness, they offer a jeep ride up the hill for those less fit like yours truly). The pathway is lined with wild blackberries. Why the restaurant doesn’t take advantage of this is beyond me. Hubby and I snacked on the wild berries – so sweet. Kiddo won’t eat berries from the wild – he believes if they aren’t from the market, they might not be safe to eat. Crazy kid!
Oh how I wish there were a way to have picked a few pints of those incredible berries and somehow gotten them home. These berries were so sweet on their own, I’m not sure sugar would have been necessary for Emeril’s Rustic Cobbler.
Emeril’s Rustic Blackberry Cobbler
4 pints fresh blackberries, rinsed briefly and drained
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and rolling out
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional, but not really)
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the berries with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and the lemon juice. Toss well. Place the berry mixture in a deep-dish pie plate and cover it with foil. Set the pie plate on a baking sheet (to catch any juices that may bubble over later), and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the berries begin to release their juices and soften, 15 to 20 minutes.
While the berries are baking, combine 3 tablespoons of the remaining sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and work it in with a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the ¾ cup heavy cream and the vanilla, and stir until the mixture just comes together to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and dust it lightly with flour. Using a lightly floured rolling-pin, roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Using a 2 1/2-inch floured cutter, cut the dough into 8 rounds.
When the berries have softened, remove the baking dish from the oven and remove the foil covering. Stir the berries well to distribute the juices. Arrange the dough rounds on top of the berries. Brush the rounds with the remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream, and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over them. Scatter the remaining butter pieces over the hot berries. Return the baking dish to the oven and cook until the biscuits are golden brown and the berries are hot and bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and allow the cobbler to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm, spooned into shallow bowls and garnished with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.