When we bought our place in 2002, coming from California, we’d never seen a mulberry before and had no idea if they were edible, if there was anything we could do with them, or if we should just let them fall to the ground to feed the birds, squirrels and deer, which is what they'd been doing for years. Once we decided that they were eminently edible, we were determined to create a dish that would showcase the subtle sweetness of the fruit. That turned out to be more of a challenge than we bargained for.
In California we were big fans of the ollalieberry, and not a summer would go by that we wouldn’t pick ollalies and make a cobbler or two. But mulberries are a whole other thing. Mulberries are quite tiny, slightly sweet, and very low acid, which makes it difficult to create much flavor when you cook them.
But as the mulberries began to ripen this year, my husband decided it was high time we harvested these little guys and did something with them. So he grabbed a bowl, and on his way out I informed him that if he wanted a cobbler, I would need at least a quart of berries. Undaunted, he returned 45 minutes later and his purple fingers plunked down a quart of berries on the counter. Game on!
Because of their lack of acid and the subtle sweetness, that’s pretty much how my first cobbler tasted. Not bad, but not very interesting either. A few days later another quart of berries showed up in the kitchen and I was ready.
This time I used less sugar and added some acid in the form of lemon juice. I also added a little salt and pretty much hit it out of the ballpark. This cobbler rocked! Nice flavors, good acid, and the sauce created by the berries as they cooked was super dee-lishus!! Oh, and I must mention that you don't have to remove that little stem from each berry. If that had been the case, you would not be reading this post.
Got mulberries? You really should make one of these.
1 qt mulberries (it's OK to leave the little stem on)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Clean the mulberries of any debris, but avoid washing them if possible. Place in a 2 qt baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, water, cornstarch, salt and sugar. Mix with a small whisk until it is well combined (the cornstarch will dissolve). Microwave for 30 seconds to get the cornstarch to begin cooking.
Stir the cornstarch mixture into the berries. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot the top of the berries with them. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the shortening until it creates little pebbles in the flour. Slowly add the milk, stirring until a soft dough is formed. Form into a ball and knead on a floured board for 20 to 30 seconds. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut to fit your baking dish. (You will probably have leftover dough which you can sprinkle with sugar and baking on baking sheet in the oven. Yummy snack!)
Place the dough on top of the berries. Cut 2 or 3 slashes on the top for steam to escape and sprinkle the top with a little more sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.