Apricot Blueberry Cobbler Recipe

Apricot Blueberry Cobbler

I’d been living in California for a few months and thoroughly enjoying the dotcom vibe of my workplace when the big news was announced: we were going to have a company barbecue.

This, to me, was what working in the Silicon Valley at the turn of the century was all about: a lot of fun ideas to make employees happy (water guns! foosball table! free pizza on Fridays!) and therefore more inclined to put in the hours and brainjuice that would help the company grow (until it didn’t, but that’s another story).

And so, on barbecue day, everyone pitched in — some set up the burger assembly station, others grilled the burger patties (and veggie substitutes, this was California after all), others yet plopped scoops of salad (potato or pasta salad, I mean) onto plates, or rounded up anyone still hiding out in his cube — before sitting down on the sunny deck at the back of our offices to dig in.

A few people had volunteered to bring dessert, and among them, someone (Barbara from client operations, I think) had baked a peach cobbler.

While people oohed and aahed, I asked: what’s a cobbler? A cobbler, someone explained, is someone who mends shoes (un cordonnier in French). This didn’t make much sense to me, so I gently inquired: okay, but, um, why? My American-born coworkers conferred for a while, spoon in mid-air and brow furrowed, until they had to admit no one had a reasonable explanation.

No matter: we all know where the proof of the pudding is, and this one was very good indeed.

A cobbler is one of those all-American desserts with funny names — together with the brown betty, the buckle, the grunt, the slump, and the pandowdy — in which seasonal fruit is topped with some sort of dough, and then cooked or baked.

In the case of the cobbler, the topping is a sugar-dusted biscuit dough that is strewn across the fruit, either in rough hand-torn pieces, as I like to do, or in neat rounds, if you prefer (though I suspect it only looks that way if you use the ready-made biscuit dough sold in canisters at the grocery store).

The cobbler is a nice change of pace from the crumble or the crisp, in that it offers a wider range of textures: the dough becomes browned and crisp at the top, remains tender like the insides of a scone in the middle, and melds with the juicy fruit at the bottom.

Because I was first introduced to the cobbler by way of Barbara’s, it remains iconically linked to peaches in my mind. But really, any ripe fruit can be used, and I particularly like the apricot and blueberry version I baked last week when friends came over for dinner.

I use ground almonds in my cobbler dough for a smoother mouthfeel, and when I make it for stone fruit, I like to flavor it with a prudent splash of orange blossom water. It is often recommended to serve the cobbler with vanilla ice cream, but I am French and I like it better with crème fraîche: I think it does a better job at underlining the natural sweetness of the fruit.

If you’re still puzzled about the name, as I am, know that it may in fact be linked to the topping’s resemblance to the shape of cobblestones, or of cobbles, which are either rounded hills or lumps of coals. But the truth is nobody really knows — not even food history librarian Lynne Olver, who nonetheless offers quotes and references that speaks to the origins of the dish.

(And for more desserts in the cobbler family, see this rhubarb raspberry grunt and this brown butter spiced crisp.)

Apricot Blueberry Cobbler

Apricot Blueberry Cobbler

For the fruit:
- 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) ripe apricots
- 4 teaspoons sugar (I use an unrefined blond cane sugar)
- 2 teaspoons pearl tapioca
- 200 grams (1 cup) blueberries (fresh or frozen; no need to thaw if frozen)

For the dough:
- 150 grams (1/3 pound, about 1 1/4 cups) flour
- 50 grams (1/2 cup) ground almonds (a.k.a. almond powder or almond meal; if unavailable, use whole almonds and blitz them to a fine powder with the sugar in a food processor)
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling (I use an unrefined blond cane sugar)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- 125 grams (1/2 cup) plain yogurt
- 70 grams (5 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced

Baking time: 25 minutes.

Pit and quarter the apricots. Put the slices in a shallow baking dish (ceramic or glass) and sprinkle with the sugar and tapioca. Toss gently to combine, arrange in an even layer, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).

Prepare the dough. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the orange blossom water, yogurt, and diced butter. Combine roughly with a fork, then use a pastry blender or the tips of your fingers to rub the wet ingredients into the dry ones. The dough will be soft; don’t overwork it. (This can also be done in a food processor or mixer, but I find it’s quicker to do it by hand.)

Add the blueberries on top of the apricots. Take tablespoonfuls of the dough and drop them on top of the fruit, covering the surface in a uniform fashion, but leaving a little space in between for the fruit to peer at the sky. Sprinkle the top with sugar.

Insert the dish in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.

Serve while still a little warm — but not piping hot — with crème fraîche or whipped cream. You can make the cobbler a few hours ahead and reheat it gently before serving.

Cooking/baking time: 30 min

  • http://spontaneoustruth.wordpress.com Jennie

    Yum! This looks delicious! Definitely going to have to try this out soon. I have an abundance of blueberries that I need to eat up. Great post!

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    Oh I love cobbler. Along with pie, ti’s one of my favourite summer desserts!

    I’m so happy with all the fresh local produce available right now.

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com DessertForTwo

    What a cute story!

    I had to laugh when you said y’all grilled veggie substitutes for burgers because it IS California after all. I’m a California transplant and I’ve never been to a bbq yet without veggie hot dogs or veggie burgers! It’s so true :)

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    Wow! I love the idea of adding ground almonds to cobbler dough. I have a bag of ground almonds in my freezer, just waiting to be incorporated into something like this gorgeous cobbler. Thanks for another beautiful recipe!

  • http://willowbirdbaking.wordpress.com Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

    Ah yes, and then there are crisps, crumbles, brown betties, buckles . . . !

    This looks delicious :)

  • http://cajunchefryan.rymocs.com/blog2/ Cajun Chef Ryan

    Clotilde, what’s not to love about apricots and blueberry. And I love fillings thickened with tapioca.

    Bon appetit!
    =:~)

  • http://trattoriascorpacciata.blogspot.com seth

    i’m a huge fan of the apricot-blueberry combo, although usually it’s dried apricots and fresh blueberries.

    supermarket meat in america is terrible, you were probably safer with the veggie burgers…

  • Caroline

    Perhaps it’s called a cobbler because you take whatever fruits you have on hand and cobble them together? Regardless, I like the name– it sounds much more appealing than a slump or grunt or even a crisp.

  • http://www.aspiringvegan.eu Pauline

    A timely suggestion – a friend has just given me some blue plums and I was looking for a change from crumble.

    To me, a cobbler is a pie that has been “cobbled together”, in other words assembled rather haphazardly, as opposed to one with a neatly rolled crust and decorated with pastry leaves.
    I do like the cobblestones explanation though.

  • Myriam

    ‘To cobble’ is also used as a verb: it means putting things together, in a bit of an improvised way, not particularly pretty.
    For instance you could cobble together a shelter from branches and leaves. That’s probably where the name of this desert comes from.
    Ethymology not withstanding, I love baked fruit deserts, so simply delicious in their soft sweet crunchy mix.

  • Terry

    Have you tried tapioca flour instead of the pearl tapioca? I dislike flour or cornstarch as a thickener, and sometimes the tapioca seemed not to disappear into the dish as well as I’d have liked. Hence the flour (ground tapioca I presume) — really does the trick without the pearls in the finished product.
    I’d always assumed the cobbler name came from “cobbled together.”

  • http://scandifoodie.blogspot.com Maria @ ScandiFoodie

    I love cobblers! I can imagine apricot and blueberry filling would be just perfect!

  • http://www.simpleitaliancooking.com Liz from Simple Italian Cooking

    I have never heard of orange blossom water. I just figured cobbler meant a crustless pie with drops of dough on top!

  • http://limecake.net LimeCake

    that golden crust looks amazing!

  • http://www.theinternetchef.biz Bridget Davis

    WOW!! This looks delicious!!

    Fresh fruit, a pie…YUM!!

    Thank you for this post!

    Bridget Davis ~ The Internet Chef
    Sydney [Australia]

  • http://croquecamille.wordpress.com Camille

    I love your addition of almond to the biscuit topping – almonds are always a win with stone fruit. And I just bought bottle of orange flower water, for the sole reason that I had found it and it wasn’t “arome.” Now I have an excuse to use it, so thank you! (I just hope that Reine Claude season is still going when I return to Paris from vacation.)

  • Caroline

    I really appreciate how little sugar your recipe calls for, especially mixed in with the fruit. (I’m betting that Barbara’s version had a lot more!) Generally I cut the amount of sugar that most cake/cookie/dessert recipes call for by about half, and I don’t miss it.

  • http://enchantedfig.blogspot.com/ Amanda at Enchanted Fig

    Ahh, the cobbler. Something about apricot and anything warms my soul. I am usually an apricot and blackberry kind of girl, but blueberry, that is a definite possibility. California doesn’t do blueberries so well. But thank you!

    And I just made a version of your chocolate and zucchini cake…with cardamom and cinnamon and walnuts. Good job! Tastes amazing.

  • sophie

    Hi Clotilde,
    after reading your recipe i opened my gluten free baking book looking for cobbler, and i found this:”cobblers get their names from the biscuits on top, which look like cobblestone streets.”
    And that’s from an American pastry chef, so she must know…your recipe looks delicious!

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    Also the company I work for wanted to make a barbecue day for employees and their family… Only that, being Wales and not California, we had to cancel it for a consecutive month because it was raining, and in the end we cancelled it for good :)

    I love the sprinkle of sugar on the top – it makes the cobbler look so yummy.

  • ATL Cook

    http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CobblerHistory.htm

    Have almond flour from Trader Joe’s, but ate the last apricot this morning. I have plenty of blueberries and will be making this.

    I often use WONDRA (extra fine–put some regular flour in a blender or food processor to make your own) flour and it never lumps in fruit pies. Sometimes, I use Clear Jel and it works great — low carb too.

  • NicM

    I made a fantastic blueberry and peach buttermilk cobbler this summer but I’m definitely interested in trying your additions of almond powder and orange blossom water. I found orange and rose waters at a local Indian grocery but haven’t figured out how to incorporate them into dishes yet. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.twogoodcookies.com Kim @ Two Good Cookies

    I have some blueberries just begging to be used… thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://kissmyspatula.com/ G.

    welcome to california and cobblers! i miss the dot-com days of friday pizzas and squirt-guns!

  • Joanne

    Made this for company last night and it was outstanding. I used farm fresh peaches as apricots were not in season. I didn’t have plain yogurt so I used vanilla yogurt that I had on hand. It was a hit with everyone.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      So pleased to hear it, Joanne, thanks for telling me!

  • http://www.simple-nourished-living.com Martha McKinnon

    This looks delicious. I love all combinations of cobbler and have made peach & blueberry many times, but never apricot & blueberry which sounds delightful. Unfortunately, I don’t find fresh apricots in my part of the world very often!

    When making the dough, I usually mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it gets a crumbly texture and then stir in the buttermilk or yogurt. Love learning all the different approaches to baking!

  • http://www.theteachercooks.com The Teacher Cooks

    I love the addition of ground almonds in the dough. I have to try this out.

  • http://www.rosegeorge.com rose

    hello, I’m a new visitor. I had surgery last week and have had – weirdly – no appetite at all, but I read your apricot cobbler post and suddenly felt the urge to go and buy fruit, butter, sugar and flour. As I’m British, it’s a crumble not a cobbler, and with rhubarb not apricots, but still, mille fois merci for the inspiration and stomach-rumblingness of your post!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m glad you got your appetite back, Rose!

  • http://bakingeatingposting.wordpress.com/ marina

    I love this !!!

  • http://cookbookapprentice.wordpress.com The Cookbook Apprentice

    This looks delicious! Last weekend I made a blueberry blackberry crumble. Never thought of putting apricots with blueberries, I’ll have to try it!

  • http://chicagowillie@blogspot.com patti

    A friend of mine just made this cobbler and I have to say it was spectacular. I’m not normally drawn to bakery and sweets, probably because I am a terrible baker, but this I am going to make today. The texture and balance of flavors are just perfect. Thank you Clotilde!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thank you for reporting back, Patti!

  • http://sendfood.wordpress.com jodye @ ‘scend food

    I’ve never been one to turn down a great cobbler, especially not one full of fresh blueberries and peaches. I’ll have to add this to my dessert rotation!

  • http://egobsd.org/log/ candice

    This looks good, but it looks like entirely too much work for a good cobbler. Maybe that’s how they make them in California. :)

    Ours (my mississippi great-grandmother’s) is 1 stick butter, melted in the baking dish, then mix in to that 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and a teaspoon or two of baking powder if you feel like cheating. Do not worry about lumps or smoothness.

    Then put in as much fruit as you like – for that much, at least 1 pound, if not close to 2. Bake at 350 until brownish.

    This divides down nicely so that to use up 1 cup of fruit i use 2T butter, 1/4c flour,sugar,etc.

  • Madonna

    Pie crust is my nemesis, so I love the ease of making a cobbler. I’m going to have to try this one as soon as the remains of yesterday’s blackberry cobbler are gone. Last weekend, it was peach cobbler topped with homemade peach ice cream. I like the idea of the flavor combination of apricots and blueberries. I can’t wait to taste it.

  • http://www.knifesetandcutlery.com JillS.

    I’ve lived in the South for a number of years – cobbler is always a staple at every function and family dinner. I’ve had some that were not so good and some you wanted to eat 3 servings of. I’ve never made one myself but I’m inspired to make this one – and perfect timing – I have to bring dessert to a dinner this weekend!

  • Miss B

    @NicM — I’ve always found that soaking things in floral waters (almonds, pine nuts, dried fruit, that sort of thing) and then using those in whatever recipe I’m making is a simple way of incorporating the flavor (which really means the fragrance, in this case) into foods. Pine nuts soaked in rosewater are excellent added to fruit-heavy savoury couscous dishes, for example. Or nuts soaked in floral water added to shortbread-type cookies, things like that.

    I’ve never tried adding any to pie crust or that sort of thing, though, and it sounds like something I’m going to have to try soon..

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Those are wonderful suggestions, Miss B, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.blogfood1.blogspot.com londyn

    What a fabulous post! I never think about the names of food – I just gobble it up instead ;)

  • http://www.aspiringvegan.eu Pauline

    I can’t stop making this cobbler, I’m on my third this week… today it’s yellow plums from the garden. My vegan version uses 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and 3 tablespoons of hazelnut puree to replace the butter.

    Miss B – I only recently acquired both orange flower water and rosewater so I’m on the lookout for uses. Many thanks for the tips.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m delighted! Thank you for sharing your vegan version — do you find the topping still crisps up nicely with the hazelnut purée replacement ?

  • http://tjsthings.wordpress.com TJ

    Beautiful cobbler! Your story brought back a lot of Bay Area late ’90s memories for me.

  • http://www.VisforOlive.blogspot.com Olive

    I make a very delicious blueberry crumble (similar to cobbler), but I’m excited to try this variety! It looks yum…

    Olive

  • Miss B

    @Pauline — in your vegan version, what do you use to replace the yogurt? Soy yogurt? Soy or almond milk plus…something thicker than soy or almond milk? Something else entirely?

  • http://bravotalk.blogspot.com/ Kathryn

    love love love your blog!

    this looks super delicious!! cobblers are so yummy!

    [bless bless]

  • http://www.inolongerlikechocolates.com Kathie

    Clotilde, standard-issue American-style Apple Crisp has a topping with OATMEAL as one of the compulsory main ingredients — so I like to think of it as a health food ;-)))) This was one of the most popular desserts in our school cafeteria for lunch when I was a moppet.

  • Joseph de Boston

    Cobble – perhaps from cobblestone = pavés, because the top is a bit uneven and resembles them? Mais Clotilde, ma question serait: où trouver des myrtilles en France? A Toulouse j’en trouve pas au marché ;-( peche/myrtille est tres bon aussi.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I like to use wild blueberries we pick when on vacation in the Vosges (season is July-August). Short of that, you can use frozen blueberries — they have wild ones (from Sweden I think) at Picard stores.

  • http://www.bakersroyale.com naomi

    What a great summer recipe. I love the addition of the ground almonds to the dough.

  • capucine

    I made this cobbler with a different filling (peaches – recipe for that part from the Cooks Illustrated site) and the dough part using this recipe. It’s actually excellent; neither the almond meal nor the orange water is discernible, but the end result is a flakey lightweight cobbler top that is pretty much perfect.

    I made it in France for my in-laws, who had never seen anything like it and were skeptical, and they ate the entire thing. Most unusual for them, they generally aren’t dessert people and have only a small portion.

    I liked it far better than the standard American versions I’ve eaten or made myself in the past. This is my go-to recipe now for the dough. It turns out perfect, cook without fear!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m so pleased to hear that, Capucine, thank you! (And what a lovely name, too.)

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