A Berry I Can Get Behind

Boysenberries and juice-stained spoon

I’m not sure what it was that possessed me to grab a pint of boysenberries at the farmer’s market yesterday. It certainly wasn’t for lack of other produce, since my little bag was already bursting with apricots, green beans and fresh dill, not to mention some smoked buffalo bones for a certain puppy (who, by the way, was on her best behavior in public this weekend). But I remembered read somewhere recently that boysenberries are a hybrid of blackberries, loganberries, and raspberries, and/or possibly dewberries, with a flavor like raspberries but sweeter. I don’t like blackberries and raspberries because they are so gritty and tart (and possibly my ongoing war with the blackberry brambles in the back yard affects my opinion a bit), so “sweeter” must have been the key word that drew me to the boysenberry stand yesterday.

Boysenberry cobbler

The pint of berries, swathed in a plastic bag, went in my messenger bag with the rest of the produce, and Freyja and I headed home, squeezing our way through the huge crowd gathered on Summer Street for that Hoopla basketball event held every year by the Capitol. By the time we got home, the pressed cardboard pint box was soggy with purple juice, but at least the plastic kept it from staining my bag. Still, I knew that, in their rather mangled state, I would need to use the berries right away. I gave Jeremy his choice of boysenberry cobbler or ice cream, and he voted for cobbler almost before I had mentioned the second option.

Since I only had one pint of berries, I pared down the recipe I was working from, and baked it in 6 individual ramekins instead of a single dish. I appear to be on the verge of a coconut kick: I added a bit of desiccated coconut to the batter, and, just for fun, sprinkled the cobblers with coconut sugar too. They went in the oven for about 20 minutes, until they were puffed and golden with violet juices bubbling up around the edges like lava. We read a chapter or two of Harry Potter while they cooled down, and ate them warm with a dollop of vanilla-flecked whipped cream (Jeremy lamented our sad lack of vanilla ice cream. It didn’t stop him from eating cobbler though, both that night and with breakfast and lunch the next day, too.).

Boysenberry cobbler

Although the berries themselves were only sweetened with a few tablespoons of sugar, they were definitely sweet enough for my taste and lived up to their reputation. This is a berry I can get behind. If only it were seedless… the cobbler tasted great, but seemed really gravelly in my mouth. Next time I see them at the market, I’ll use them to make a batch of strained boysenberry ice cream instead.

Individual Boysenberry Cobblers

2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 C sugar
1 pint (2 cups) boysenberries
1 T water
1 T butter
1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 T butter, melted
1 egg white
2 T unsweetened desiccated coconut
3 T milk or heavy cream
Coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a saucepan mix cornstarch, sugar, and water. Add berries and cook on medium heat until mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add butter and lemon juice. Divide between 6 ramekins.

Prepare the batter by mixing all of the batter ingredients and beating with a spoon until the batter is smooth and scoopable. Using a cookie scoop, evenly divide dollops of batter between the ramekins; it will sink a bit into the berry mixture. Sprinkle tops with coconut sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350°F. Let cool; serve slightly warm with whipped cream or ice cream. These reheat well, covered with plastic wrap and popped in the microwave for a few seconds.

Coconut Sugar:
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/4 C sweetened flaked coconut

Combine sugar and coconut in a food processor and pulse until sugar looks moist and fluffy. Makes 3/4 cup. Use to top baked goods or homemade donuts and fritters.

Source: Adapted from Simply Recipes.

This post is my entry for the Summer Flavor Challenge hosted by Jerry at Food and Photo.

Update 7/26/07: I won, I won! Hard to believe, but Jerry just emailed me with the big news. Check it out here. Ooh, can’t want to find out what the prize is!

Update 8/2/07: My prize has arrived in the mail and it’s a delicious batch of homemade cookies and a packet of Austin-made gingerbread biscotti. Thanks so much, Jerry! My husband ate almost all of your cookies before I even had a chance to try one. 🙂

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