I love this transitional period from winter to spring. The past few weeks have been a joy; sun kissed days, gentle day breezes and the air around my yard now permeated with a subtle scent of geraniums and roses. Hayfever symptoms aside, the weather so far has been awesome.
This dessert pays a little homage to both winter and spring: a simple comforting cobbler with gorgeous vivid spring berries and a chocolate pastry. I decided to go all out and made a chocolate crème anglaise to go with it but of course, a vanilla custard, double cream or ice cream would be equally amazing.
I prefer to bake this in a flatter dish because I like a good ratio of pastry to fruit but you can use whatever bowl you like. Oh and if you have any leftover baked berry filling, it makes a killer topping on ice cream or yoghurt. Heck, this cobbler makes for an extremely naughty breakfast.
Aaaand this is why you need baking paper on the tray!
- 150g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g brown sugar
- 3 Tbl Dutch cocoa (about 20g)
- Pinch of salt
- 125g cold unsalted butter, chopped
- 100g sour cream
- 500g mixed berries*
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 Tbl plain flour
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- *I used 250g strawberries, 125g blueberries and 125g raspberries (1 punnet each)
- In a food processor, blitz the flour, baking powder, sugars, cocoa and salt until combined. Add the cold chopped butter and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add sour cream and process until it just comes together. Pat into a flat disc and refrigerate for 30 minutes (dough will be quite soft).
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a shallow tray with foil or baking paper. In a large bowl, carefully toss the berries, sugar, flour, lemon rind and vanilla together. Divide amongst 6 small ramekins or one large baking dish.
- Roll out the chocolate dough to 5mm thickness and use a round cookie cutter to cut out discs (larger 5-6cm rounds if you’re making one big serving or smaller rounds for the ramekins). The dough will warm up quite quickly so work as fast as you can before it softens up. If it does warm up too much, stick it back in the fridge until firm.
- Layer the discs of dough over the berries, overlapping slightly. If you wish, brush a little milk over the dough and sprinkle some demerara sugar for an extra bit of crunch.
- Place on baking tray and bake for around 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the dough is cooked (tops will be a bit dry and crispy and a skewer will come out clean when inserted).
- Serve warm with a side of custard, chocolate sauce or ice cream.
- 150ml pouring cream
- 100ml milk
- 1/2 Tbl of brandy
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 3 large egg yolks
- 75g caster sugar
- 80g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- In a saucepan over medium heat, scald the cream, milk, brandy and vanilla seeds, stirring the bottom so the milk doesn’t burn (scalding means until bubbles appear at the sides). Remove from heat.
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and thick. While continuously whisking, add a little of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs then gradually add the rest.
- Tip this mixture back into the pot and over low heat, stir constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon (77°C).
- Remove from heat, add the finely chopped chocolate and sit for a minute or two. Whisk until smooth and combined.
- Pour out into a bowl and cover the surface with clingwrap to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or cooled as a custard.