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  • Writer's pictureThe Wild Foodie

The Ultimate Wild Damson Fruit Cobbler Recipe

At the heart of culinary exploration lies an invitation to uncover the beauty and complexity of nature's bounty. As we set forth on a journey into the world of cobbler-making, we delve into the realm of untamed flavours that flourish amidst the British countryside. This expedition isn't merely about crafting desserts; it's an exploration of authenticity, a celebration of seasonal treasures, and a tribute to the exquisite wild damsons and golden bullaces that grace our landscapes.


In this gastronomic odyssey, we embrace the wild damson – a fruit that encapsulates the essence of changing seasons and the very soul of the outdoors in the UK. With its deep purple hue and an intriguing balance of sweetness and tartness, the wild damson takes centre stage, weaving together tradition and innovation in a single tantalising bite.


Yet, there's more to unveil. The often-overlooked golden bullace emerges as a hidden gem among the wilderness, its radiant hue and delicate flavour providing an unexpected complement to the wild damson. Together, these wild fruits beckon us to venture beyond the confines of the familiar and step into the realm of the wild.


Wild Damson Fruit Cobbler Recipe
The Ultimate Wild Damson Fruit Cobbler

As we peel back the layers of cobbler-making, we're not just blending ingredients; we're weaving together a tapestry of tastes that resonate with the spirit of nature. Each cobbler creation becomes a canvas where the rich, authentic flavours of these wild fruits are harmonised with the comforting charm of a cobbled topping.


However, our journey doesn't halt at the wild damsons and golden bullaces. It urges us to embrace the art of foraging, to explore the untapped potential of blackberries, elderberries, sloes, wild apples, and more – each ingredient a brushstroke in the masterpiece of a cobbler.


So, as we set forth on this culinary adventure, let us relish the journey into the uncharted world of wild flavours. With each cobbler we create, we pay homage to tradition, connect with the wilderness, and honour the purity of taste that nature so generously bestows upon us.


A brief history of the Cobbler Pudding


In the UK the history of cobbler pudding is intertwined with the evolution of traditional British desserts and the influences of other cultures. While not as widely known as some other desserts, cobbler pudding has left its mark on the British culinary landscape.


Early Origins and European Influences:

The origins of cobbler pudding in the UK can be traced back to the medieval period, where fruit-based dishes were common. The term "cobbler" likely stems from the Old English word "cobeler," referring to someone who patched things together. This term was later applied to the dessert, as the irregularly placed dough resembled a cobbled street.


Colonial Influence and American Evolution:

As British settlers colonised America, they brought with them their culinary traditions, including the concept of cobblers. Over time, the dessert transformed in the American context to become a popular and adaptable dish that featured sweetened fruit fillings and various types of dough or batter toppings.


Variations in the UK:

In the UK, the term "cobbler" is used to describe a baked dessert that typically consists of stewed fruit topped with scone or biscuit dough. The fruit filling can vary based on what's in season, but commonly used fruits include apples, berries, and stone fruits like plums. The topping is often dropped onto the fruit in a cobbled fashion before baking.


Similar Desserts Around the World:

While cobbler pudding has its roots in the UK, similar desserts exist in other parts of the world.


Crumble (UK): A close relative to the cobbler, the British crumble features stewed fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, and sugar. This topping provides a delightful contrast to the soft fruit beneath.


Crisps (North America): In the United States and Canada, a dessert known as "crisp" is popular. It typically involves baked fruit filling topped with a mixture of oats, flour, butter, and sugar, creating a crunchy texture.


Clafoutis (France): The French have their own version called "clafoutis," which consists of cherries baked in a batter that's similar to pancake batter. It's slightly custard-like and offers a unique twist on the cobbler concept.


Betty (US and UK): Similar to a cobbler, a "betty" features layers of fruit and buttered breadcrumbs or cake crumbs. It's baked until the topping is crisp.


While cobbler pudding might not be as famous as other British desserts like the traditional trifle or sticky toffee pudding, its history reflects the interconnectedness of culinary traditions across cultures. Whether in the UK or beyond, cobbler pudding's rustic charm and comforting flavours continue to make it a beloved dessert for those seeking a taste of tradition.


Crafting Cobbler with Wild Damsons and Golden Bullaces


Amidst the heart of the British countryside, where meadows and orchards flourish, two hidden gems of nature's bounty emerge annually – the wild damsons and the golden bullaces. These petite, jewel-like fruits encapsulate the very essence of the land, offering a delightful blend of sweetness and tartness that embodies the shifting seasons. Within the walls of a rustic kitchen, where tradition intertwines harmoniously with innovation, the magic of crafting the quintessential cobbler comes to fruition.


The Enigmatic Wild Damson


The wild damson, a distant kin of the plum, is a treasure found amidst ancient hedgerows and secluded orchards across the United Kingdom. With their deep purple hue and slightly elongated shape, wild damsons hold an air of enigma. They are the fruits of tradition, cherished for generations for their extraordinary tanginess and complexity of flavour.


Capturing the very essence of the countryside, wild damsons offer a harmonious blend of sweetness and sourness, rendering them an impeccable choice for the filling of a classic cobbler. Their vibrant juices erupt, mingling with sugar and spice to create a symphony of tastes that warms the heart and delights the palate.


The Radiant Golden Bullace


Lesser-known yet equally enchanting, the golden bullace graces the brambles and bushes with its small, rounded form and radiant golden-yellow skin. Often overshadowed by its larger counterparts, the golden bullace stands as a concealed treasure that, once unveiled, becomes a gem eagerly sought after. Its gentle sweetness, coupled with a subtle tartness, stands as a testament to the diversity of nature's offerings. In the realm of cobbler creation, the golden bullace assumes a cherished role, adding both a visual allure and a sensory treat to the dessert. Its inviting hue beckons, promising a burst of sunlight and a medley of tastes.


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A Perfect Union in Cobbler Harmony


As these wild damsons and golden bullaces are transformed into a cobbler, a remarkable harmony unfolds. The deep, rich shades of the damsons complement the luminous glow of the bullaces, culminating in a tapestry of colours that mirrors the landscape from which they emerge. Nestled beneath the cobbled topping, the fruits meld and fuse, resulting in a symphony of sweet, sour, and fragrant notes that gracefully dance across the palate. The contrast between the tender fruit filling and the crumbly, golden crust embodies nature's equilibrium – an ideal union that encapsulates the essence of the countryside in every delectable spoonful.


As you progress through this post, we will embark upon a gastronomic expedition that venerates the wild damson and the golden bullace. Through recipes that honour tradition whilst embracing innovation, we extend an invitation to experience the art of cobbler-making at its finest. Witness the splendour of these wild fruits as they shine brightly in every savoured bite.


Can you make this Cobbler Recipe with Plums?


Certainly, the delightful thing about cobbler recipes is their versatility. While the original recipe highlights the distinct flavours of wild damsons and golden bullaces, you can absolutely create a cobbler using plums. Plums offer a wonderful combination of sweetness and tartness, making them an excellent choice for a cobbler filling. Simply substitute an equivalent amount of plums for the wild damsons and golden bullaces in the recipe, adjusting the sugar to taste based on the sweetness of the plums.


Whether you're using wild fruits or plums, the essence of a cobbler lies in the harmonious blend of fruit and the delectable cobbled topping. Feel free to embrace the bounty of seasonal fruits available and create a cobbler that resonates with your preferences and the flavours you love.


Make swift work of picking wild fruits with this selection of fantastic berry and fruit pickers.


Ultimate Wild Damson Fruit Cobbler Recipe


Ingredients:


For the damson filling:

600g fresh wild damson and golden bullace fruits, washed, pitted, and halved

200g granulated sugar (adjust to taste, depending on the sweetness of the damsons)

30ml lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

15g cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt


For the cobbler topping:

125g all-purpose flour

50g granulated sugar

7.5g baking powder

2.5g salt

115g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

80ml milk (whole milk or buttermilk)

5ml vanilla extract


For serving:

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).


In a large mixing bowl, combine the halved damson fruits, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, and a generous pinch of salt. Gently toss the mixture until the damsons are evenly coated. Let the mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld and the juices to release.


Transfer the damson mixture to a 23x23cm (9x9-inch) baking dish or a similar-sized oven-safe dish.


In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt for the cobbler topping.


Add the cold butter cubes to the flour mixture. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.


In a separate small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla extract. Gradually pour the milk mixture into the dry mixture, stirring gently with a fork, until just combined. Do not overmix; the dough should be slightly lumpy.


Drop spoonful’s of the cobbler dough evenly over the damson filling in the baking dish. The dough doesn't need to cover the filling completely; it will spread and puff up as it bakes.

Place the baking dish on a baking sheet (to catch any potential drips) and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cobbler topping is golden brown and the damson filling is bubbling around the edges.


Remove the cobbler from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before serving. This will help the filling thicken a bit.


Serve the wild damson fruit cobbler warm, optionally topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra indulgence.


Enjoy the delightful combination of sweet and tangy damson fruits with the buttery, golden cobbler topping – the ultimate wild damson fruit cobbler!


Other Wild Fruits Perfect for a Cobbler


Incorporating foraged ingredients into a cobbler can infuse the dessert with a distinctive taste of the natural landscape. Here are a few foraged foods that can work wonderfully in a cobbler:


Blackberries:

Blackberries are a classic foraged fruit that pairs beautifully with the concept of a cobbler. These dark, juicy berries offer a sweet-tart flavour and can be found growing in hedgerows, along paths, and in woodland clearings. A blackberry cobbler can showcase the essence of late summer and early autumn, capturing the essence of the outdoors in every bite.


Elderberries:

Elderberries are small, deep purple berries that grow in clusters on elder shrubs. These berries have a unique, rich flavour that is somewhat earthy and tart. They can be transformed into a delectable cobbler filling, offering a taste of the countryside's bounty.


Sloes:

Sloes, the small fruit of the blackthorn shrub, are often used to make sloe gin, but they can also add a distinct flavour to a cobbler. These small blue-black fruits have a sour, astringent taste that can be balanced with sugar in a cobbler. They're a true embodiment of the wild, offering a unique twist to the traditional dessert.


Wild Apples or Crab apples:

Wild apples or crab apples can be foraged from trees in hedgerows, gardens, or even neglected orchards. They tend to be smaller and tarter than cultivated apples, but they lend a delightful complexity to a cobbler. The tartness of these apples pairs well with the sweetness of the cobbler topping.


Rowan Berries:

Rowan berries, also known as mountain ash berries, have a vivid red-orange colour and a slightly bitter taste. They can be used in moderation to add a unique tanginess to a cobbler. Keep in mind that rowan berries can be quite tart, so balancing them with sweeter fruits or sugar is essential.


Bilberries:

Like blueberries, bilberries are smaller and pack a more intense flavour. They can be found in wild areas such as moorlands, heathlands, and forests. A bilberry cobbler showcases the depth of their flavour and their association with the untamed landscape.


When incorporating foraged foods into a cobbler, it's important to consider their flavours, textures, and levels of sweetness. Mixing different foraged ingredients or combining them with more common fruits can result in a cobbler that's both exciting and deeply connected to the natural world.


Get more wild food recipes by checking out our selection of Forager Cookbooks.


Summing Up


In the realm of culinary exploration, we've embarked on a journey to unearth the authentic and untamed flavours that nature generously provides. Our odyssey through the art of cobbler-making has been a revelation of the incredible richness waiting to be discovered within wild ingredients, particularly the captivating wild damsons and golden bullaces that grace the heart of the British landscape.


As we contemplate the wild damson, we embrace its intriguing fusion of sweet and tart nuances. These diminutive, enigmatic fruits carry within them a taste that mirrors the changing seasons and the spirit of the British countryside. With their deep purple hue and slightly elongated form, they deliver a complex explosion of flavour that harmonizes impeccably with the comforting layers of a cobbler.


The golden bullace, often overshadowed, emerges as a hidden gem among the wilderness. Its radiant yellow skin belies a delicate sweetness complemented by a subtle tartness. This unpretentious fruit imparts an element of warmth and vibrancy to the cobbler, introducing a contrast that is both unexpected and delightful.


The true enchantment unfolds when these wild damsons and golden bullaces are metamorphosed into a cobbler. The fusion of sweet and tart, the gentle warmth of the fruit, and the crumbly, cobbled topping blend seamlessly, resulting in a symphony of taste that glorifies the very essence of the land. This symphony isn't just a testament to tradition; it's a celebration of the discovery of raw and untouched flavours hidden within the wild.


But our exploration doesn't culminate here. The realm of foraged foods beckons us to unlock the latent potential of ingredients like blackberries, elderberries, sloes, and more. With each inclusion, we unearth a distinct facet of the British landscape, embracing the subtle variations of taste that only nature can offer.


In each spoonful of a foraged cobbler, we savour the pristine beauty of the outdoors. We encounter the innate equilibrium of sweetness and tartness that only wild ingredients can provide, and we're reminded of the opulence that envelops us, yearning to be cherished and relished.


As our journey concludes, let us persist in our pursuit of the uncharted troves of wild flavours, unearthing the concealed treasures that nature so graciously bestows. With every cobbler creation, we fête the unrefined magnificence of the land, the craft of fashioning a dish that narrates authenticity, and the modest delight of savouring the wild through taste.


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