Little hints of fall are creeping their way every so slightly into our corner of the world. Rapidly ripening apples are falling from the trees, cooler daytime breezes waft bracingly through open windows and our resident local bears are out and about bulking up and preparing for their long winter sleep. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen a photo of our most recent bear visitor, a handsome albeit quite large fellow, whom we were more than happy to view from afar.
My battle with the wildlife over fruit in my garden is nothing new. Deer and bear are consistently eating their way through most of our apples and this year, a very persistent group of birds devoured my blueberry bushes in record time. We live on the remnants of a (very) old apple orchard and as such you can imagine we are a very important stop on the autumn bear bulk up route.
Realizing that blackberry season was fast upon me I felt the need to get out, and get the last of my summer picking completed. One of the many benefits to living in the Pacific Northwest has to be it's overabundance of wild fruit. Blackberries in particular grow quite literally everywhere. Free for the picking, virtually wherever you can find them.
Sunday, my parents, son and I headed to our favorite location down the road and picked enough berries to make several pies and cobblers along with sufficient amounts to generously stock the freezer for wintertime indulgences.
An ever growing list of things to do, a short trip out of town and an extremely unfortunate tooth abscess all forced me to make a quick, easy dessert with a small fraction of our bounty. Cobblers are really in my opinion one of the easiest, homiest things to make and are especially fantastic with fruit that is just a bit too ripe for anything else. Softening Italian prune and Red plums are a perfect foil for all kinds of fruit and this time of year, so readily available.
The sweet and tart combination of blackberries and plums begs to be enhanced ever so slightly by the addition of thyme in the biscuit dough. The slightly off kilter savory element is brilliant in a dish like this. For these biscuits I've used lemon thyme as that's what is growing currently in my garden. Small amounts of regular fresh thyme would be great too if that's what is available to you.
So far the score for blackberries this summer? Bears - 0, Maria - 1. I'll take any victory I can get. And this friends is a definite victory.
Blackberry, Plum and Lemon Thyme Cobbler
Makes one 9 x 13 inch pan
Recipe adapted from Desserts for Breakfast
For the Fruit:
2 lbs. Assorted plums, sliced or quartered depending on size
1 lb. Fresh Blackberries
3/4 C. Sugar
2 T. All purpose flour
For the Biscuits:
1 3/4 C. All purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 C. Heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp. Salt
3 small sprigs fresh lemon thyme, stripped and minced
1 T. creme fraiche or sour cream
1/2 C. Half and half or Whole milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the plums, blackberries, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl and toss to coat. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and thyme. In a measuring cup or small bowl whisk the creme fraiche into the whipping cream. Add to the dry mixture and stir just to combine. Add the half and half and gently incorporate. Pinch off large mounds of dough and pat, or spread it evenly over the top of the fruit.
Brush some additional heavy cream over the top of the dough and place in the oven. Allow to bake for 25-30 minutes until the biscuits just begin to brown. Serve warm with ice cream and more small thyme leaves if desired.