Berry Cobbler with Boysenberries

by Sally on June 13, 2011 · 9 comments

in Dessert

Although a berry cobbler can be made with many kinds of berries, my all-time favorite is with boysenberries.  I am absolutely wild about boysenberries.

A California treasure almost lost, boysenberries are a cross between a blackberry, raspberry and loganberry. This is the beautiful berry that made Knott’s Berry Farm famous. Deep red-purple in color, these juicy gems are rarely found beyond a farmers market and their season is just a few weeks long.

When I discovered boysenberries at Bristol Farms a few days ago I jumped for joy, greedily grabbing six boxes. Thankfully the produce guy knew me. He just laughed as I stood there with an open container, stuffing them in my mouth exclaiming “I can’t believe you have boysenberries”! Curious shoppers figured they must be special and started picking up boxes. The limited supply quickly dwindled.

My life-long love affair with boysenberries started as a kid. My dad is a Pastor and his first church was the little white Church of Reflection at Knott’s Berry Farm. Walter Knott agreed to him using the church for his growing congregation if he would hold services for employees on Sunday. I practically grew up on Knott’s Berry Farm. The memories are very special.

Knott’s, famed for boysenberry pie, jam, juice, popsicles, pancake syrup and tarts: I could never get enough. Back then it wasn’t roller coasters and wild rides, but the famous chicken dinners and all things boysenberry that drew the happy, hungry crowds.

With my stash safely home, boysenberry cobbler came to mind. While not exactly health food, at least cobblers bypass the calories of a pie’s pastry crust and rely on a crispy, crunchy baked topping to crown the berries. I experimented with cornmeal and whole wheat flour for the topping, but went back to my old standard recipe with all purpose flour.

This recipe is easy and fast to put together. The topping is sprinkled on, so no fussing with dough to make a biscuit topping. The sprinkled topping also allows you to control the amount; use a little or a little extra. I bake the cobblers in 8 ounce porcelain ramekins, which make for a personal treat.It’s fun to dig into your own little dessert. If you don’t have ramekins you will find them a very useful addition to your kitchen collection. You can also use 8 ounce oven safe deep dishes.

If you can’t locate boysenberries, use fresh blackberries or a combination of blackberries and raspberries for a wonderful cobbler. For even more of a treat, top with a small scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream or low fat frozen yogurt.

A note on the recipe source: I’ve adapted it from what I think is old Williams-Sonoma recipe. I’ve checked their website but can’t find the same recipe.

If you need to make this gluten-free, use a GF blend such as Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free multi-purpose flour in place of the all purpose flour. Both are good quality.

Berry Cobbler with Boysenberries

If you can’t find boysenberries, use blackberries or a combination with raspberries.  I like to make personal cobblers in 8-ounce porcelain ramekins (sometimes called souffle cups) because everyone likes their own dessert. You can double the fruit and make it in a larger baking dish to serve more. While this is not exactly “health food”, at least you are not getting all of the fat and calories of a pastry piecrust. No crust makes this easy and fast to assemble and bake.

Serves: 2



¼ cup (22 grams) all purpose flour (or gluten-free blend such as Bob’s Red Mill)

¼ cup (22 grams) granulated sugar (I use organic evaporated cane sugar)

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg, beaten (you’ll only need ½ for 2 servings)

Berry Filling

1 tablespoon (10 grams) all purpose flour (or gluten-free blend such as Bob’s Red Mill)

3 tablespoons (35 grams) granulated sugar

12-14 ounces (340-400 grams) fresh berries, about 2 ½ cups

2-3 tablespoons (30-45 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra to butter the ramekins


1)   Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees (190C).  While the oven is heating, make the topping and assemble the cobblers.

2)   For the topping, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and ½ of the egg in a small bowl and mix with your fingers, a fork or a pastry blender until well blended and crumbly. It will have a loose, sandy texture. Don’t use all of the egg (for 2 servings) or the topping will be too wet.

3)   For the filling, combine the flour and sugar in a bowl; add berries and toss gently to coat them.

4)   With a little of the extra butter and a paper towel or pastry brush, wipe the inside of the ramekins. Pour in the berries, dividing between the two ramekins. Press them in gently but don’t crush the berries. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the topping over the berries and drizzle with melted butter.

5)   Bake until the tops are golden and crusty and the berries are bubbly and hot, about 30-35 minutes. As ovens vary, check the cobblers early. When baking it helps to place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet for easier handling and to catch any drips.

6)   Cool briefly and enjoy alone or with a small scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream or low fat vanilla frozen yogurt.

For more information on boysenberries and related recipes try these links:

Information on boysenberries

Berry-Almond Crumble from Simply Recipes

Nectarine and Raspberry Cobbler from White on Rice Couple. Boysenberries would be good in this too.

How to Select Summer Fruits by David Lebovitz


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jess white @athriftyfoodie June 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

this looks gourgeous, can’t wait to try it out. i love the rich colour of the berries…almost too good to eat!


2 Sally June 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

I love the ramekin size of these! What a treat to grow up so close to Knott’s Berry Farm–you must have so many wonderful memories. I haven’t seen boysenberries in MA, but I bet this would be great with blackberries, which are abundant in New England. Right now the summer doesn’t seem to want to come–another cool and gloomy day today–oh well, it will get here, and when it does, I’m gonna pick some berries for this cobbler!


3 Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) June 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I am ashamed to say that I have never had a boysenberry. GASP. Now I will have to seek some out.


4 Natalie Baird June 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Sally…I absolutely love your blog. It was fun to see you today. I look forward to checking back regularly. You are an amazing chef and your writing is poetic. Congratulations on your many successes. xo


5 Dianne Jacob June 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Gorgeous photo by Kent. I want to just dive in and lick the screen.

Sally, I had no idea your dad was a pastor at Knott’s Berry Farm. That made the post a great read all by itself.


6 Suzanne June 24, 2011 at 8:39 am

Wow, how fun that I found your site. I was looking for a web designer and your site was used for a sample of I grew up just around the corner from you, over in Cypress. I worked at Knott’s Berry Farm as a teen, and I love boysenberries too! My dad grew them in our backyard when I was a kids and we loved them! Your site looks terrific.


7 judy tad June 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm

great recipe. sounds like the one my mom used. I will try it this evening as I just picked bosenberries here in san diego. I also grew up with bosenberries. good old fresno, cal. the great thing today is mine are now of the thornless varity. Same great taste just no thorns.


8 Sally June 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Oh Judy I’m jealous! Fresh picked and thornless. I’ll be right over! You are lucky. They are a rare find where I am.


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