Friday, July 1, 2011

Blueberry Cobbler

Happy July, and happy start to the long weekend.  I thought it best to start off the month with an iconic American dessert to serve over the 4th of July.  Cobblers date back to the Colonial era in New England; settlers tried to recreate puddings from back in England, but had to make do with a filling topped by a plain biscuit, due to the constraints of locally available ingredients. The dish gets its name from the "cobbled-street" appearance of the final product.  Serve up that bit of American culinary history when you serve up this holiday dessert.

For the filling:
  • 6 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
For the topping:
  • 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 3 tablespoons plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vegan sugar
1. To prepare the filling, combine the blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon rind in an 11x7-inch baking dish; set aside.

2. To prepare the topping, lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, the salt, and the baking soda.  Cut the butter into small pieces, and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Stir in the sour cream - a very soft dough will form.

3. Drop the dough by spoonfuls over the blueberry mixture, to form 8 dumplings.  Brush the dumplings evenly with the milk and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon sugar.  Place the baking dish directly onto a jelly roll pan or baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes - the filling should be bubbly and the dumplings will be lightly browned.

*When it comes to vegan sour cream, I generally prefer Tofutti or Vegan Gourmet, which closely mimic the taste and texture of dairy versions.  For low-fat baking, however, I've discovered that We Can't Say It's Sour Cream from Wayfare Foods fits the bill perfectly.  At nearly a third the calories of Tofutti, it's an easy way to keep desserts light.  We Can't Say It's Sour Cream has an uneven consistency that makes it not ideal where sour cream is a garnish, but it works great in cakes and biscuits.  I find it most helpful to whisk the product smooth first, before adding to the recipe as directed. 

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1 portion), Calories 288 

Tasting Notes:
The biscuit topping tasted just like the scones my mom used to bring home from the bakery when I was a kid.  So that was a delicious surprise.  The cobbler was tasty and bursting with fresh blueberry flavor, but I felt like the filling needed a bit... more to earn a higher rating.  Cinnamon, more lemon rind, a squeeze of lemon juice, or a dash of vanilla extract all come to mind.  As it was, a simple, basic dessert, and a nice way to end a warm summer evening.


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