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Thornless blackberries

      Foraging is the hip, new pastime in the foodie world, and some people are quite serious about it.       Then there are the lazy ones, like me, who forage when it’s blackberry season.  In my neighborhood, the berries are just turning black and juicy.  

    Here are the rules:  Bring along a pair of tongs, to lift branches and get to the ripe berries underneath. If you want to protect your hands, wear a  thin glove. You can tell the blackberries are ripe when you pull them and they let go easily.  That’s pretty much all there is to it.

    I like to freeze the berries and throw them into a smoothie, but if I’m feeling more ambitious, I’ll bake them into a simple cobbler or crisp. Here’s recipe from  rockin’   pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner’s  new cookbook,  “Cooking Off the Clock: Recipes from My Downtime.” The bicoastal Falkner owns Orson and Citizen Cake in San Francisco and is scheduled to open a third restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, in the near future.

Blackberry Cobbler with Cream

Serves 4 to 6

Biscuit topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

2 tablespoon buttermilk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Fruit filling:

3 cups fresh blackberries

½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on the biscuits

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon tapioca flour, cornstarch, or all-purpose flour

Pinch of kosher salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

Heavy cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

For the biscuit topping, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Work the cold butter into the flour with your fingertips until it forms pea-size clumps. Add the buttermilk and cream and stir gently with a rubber spatula until a shaggy dough forms. Set aside while you make the filling.

For the filling, in a bowl, combine the blackberries, sugar, lemon zest, tapioca and salt. Toss lightly. Pour into a 1-quart ceramic or other baking dish. Dot with the butter.

Dust a work surface with flour, and with a rolling pin, roll out the biscuit dough to ½-inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut into 2-inch blocks. Set on top of the berries. Whisk the egg and water together and brush the biscuits with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve in bowls and pass a pitcher of heavy cream to pour on.

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