After moving to Oklahoma in 2002, I discovered an abundance of wild blackberries growing on our farm. Channeling my best Martha Stewart, I decided I had to pick these berries myself and prepare the perfect blackberry cobbler for my family. (This is also where I learned about the abundance of chiggers in Oklahoma, something we call red bugs in Georgia. They apparently love to feast on unsuspecting berry pickers.) After talking a couple of my girlfriends into going blackberry picking with me, I had an ample supply of beautiful blackberries. When I called my mom, the goddess of all things culinary, to ask for Grandma Paulk's blackberry cobbler recipe, I got the familiar reply: "Well, actually there is no real recipe." Ahhh! My notes from that day go something like this: Berries in water, Sugar, Bring to a boil, Flour, Shortening, Milk. You get the picture. The cobbler actually came out great, and I was proud of my handpicked berries, but truth be told, it was the first and last time I picked the berries wild. Store-bought berries at your local grocery or farmer's market are usually plumper and sweeter than wild berries. If you use wild berries, you will probably need to add more sugar. The last time I made this, I didn't have time to make homemade pastry, so I tried store-bought refrigerated roll-out pastry shells and cut them into strips. It worked great!
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 1-quart casserole dish or baking pan.
In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the flour, berries and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the remaining 2 cups flour. Stir in just enough milk to make a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out on a lightly-floured board and pat into a square. Use a rolling pin to roll it to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2-inch-wide strips.
Pour 1 cup of the blackberry mixture into the bottom of the pan. Arrange half of the dough strips on top of the blackberry mix, placing them close together. Bake until brown, about 12 minutes, then remove from the oven and pour the remaining berry mixture over the baked strips. Arrange another layer of dough strips on top and bake until brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.
If you don't have self-rising flour, substitute 2 cups all-purpose flour mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
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