campfire blueberry cobbler

breakfast, desserts, summer, sweet, vegetarianFieldandForest4 Comments

I wish I could tell you that this camping trip was all sunshine and climbing and cobbler, and it was, but it was also mosquitos (in a BIG way) and now I am a human-shaped pile of itch. Our lovely, perfect, secluded BLM camping site, with its flat, soft ground, makeshift fire pit, and expansive field and mountain views, was also the site for mosquito Bonnaroo Summer 2015, and we were Mumford and Sons caught without our chicken suit and wedding dress. Not a moment had passed since we opened the car doors before we were enveloped in a wispy, humming cloud of bloodsuckers, more at a single time than I have ever before seen in my life.

Ohhh, I wish I were kidding.

Lucca, of course, couldn't have cared less about the mosquitos, and Richard is a particular breed of hardcore, so the two of them went about doing their various camp arrival activities (rolling in deer poop/setting up the tent, respectively), while I ran around the campsite in my ski jacket waving my arms and yelling and trying desperately to avoid being bitten. I was unsuccessful. But eventually a slight breeze picked up and the temperatures dropped and the majority of the mosquitos hurried away to wherever it is mosquitos go when it gets windy and cold, and we had a very lovely time eating burritos and drinking beer/wine and enjoying one of the best campfire desserts we've ever made.

So, here's the thing: I honestly don't know whether to call this a crumble or a cobbler, as there is no liquid in the topping (which I think is supposed to make it ineligible to be a true cobbler), but there was a definite cakey layer under the crispy, pebbled top which seemed out of place for a crumble. And the recipe I adapted was originally from a topping for fruit crisp, but I'm pretty sure that a crisp isn't supposed to be cakey at all. So, even though I'm categorizing this as a cobbler, I don't know what to call this Franken-fruit dessert! But it was delicious, whatever it was. And if you are someone who oscillates between a preference for cakey things and crumbly/streusel-y things, then this is definitely the happy medium you've been waiting to find.

As we were unable to finish the cobbler between the two of us that evening, we just stuck the lid on the Dutch oven when we were finished and ate the leftovers over yogurt for breakfast the next morning. I HIGHLY recommend you do this as well, should you find yourself with leftovers of your own.

A few things you might be wondering/thinking:

Where are you in these photos? We were in the Uintas, a northern Utah mountain range, and the largest mountain range running east-to-west in the contiguous United States. It includes King's Peak, the highest mountain in Utah at 13,528 feet, plus over 1,000 lakes (really, really). It is a great place to hike, camp, ski, paddleboard, kayak, play with dogs, and escape the oppressive summer heat of the Salt Lake valley. It is also barely two hours away from downtown SLC! Even though we camped on BLM land, there are a number of (very popular) campsites in the area. You can check out campsites, permit/pass information, weather forecasts, and more here.

Where did you get that nifty Dutch oven? Richard got this Dutch oven from his parents for a past birthday. It is aluminum, and is light enough to take backpacking. If you're more into cast iron, Lodge makes a number of great Dutch ovens in a variety of sizes and styles that would be perfect for car camping. Make sure you get one with a handle that can swing up and over the lid of the Dutch oven for easy lifting and moving, or you are going to have a pretty interesting time maneuvering your lava-hot pot of cobbler out of the campfire.

How did you keep Lucca from running away from your campsite? Oh, there was definitely a moment when Lucca went on a mission to befriend a lone landscape photographer, and Richard had to hunt him down in the semi-darkness. And Lucca took himself on a short adventure to somewhere (I still don't know where) when I got up for an early morning pee, and I hollered for him for a good couple of minutes before he popped out of some bushes on the other side of the field next to our campsite. So, I suppose the answer is: we don't. He kind of likes to explore on his own when we're outside, and he almost always returns without our intervention. I guess I don't really have good advice, other than that we give him a few top-shelf treats and some cheese every once in a while (usually when he returns from adventuring), and I think he intuits that he'd be hard-pressed to find aged cheddar elsewhere in the wilderness.

(And don't you worry, Internet trolls, we wouldn't let him off the leash if he was a menace to other dogs/small children, and we leash him when we're in areas with a high-density of wild animals/cars/other people/watersheds.)

You left some stems on your blueberries when you made the cobbler!! Let's be clear that when you are getting attacked by hordes of mosquitos, de-stemming blueberries falls pretty low on your list of priorities. I just wanted to get the cobbler show on the road as quickly as possible. But to be honest, I didn't even notice any stems in the cobbler after it was finished! True story.

I want to know what's happening with that burrito-looking thing. Yeah! So we had a leftover chicken breast from the Gringo Chicken Tacos (I made a double batch the other day), so I shredded it and added it to some black beans which we heated on the camp stove. We put the chicken-bean mixture on whole-wheat tortillas, added some leftover chopped onions and cilantro, store-bought pico de gallo, and avocado slices, plus a squeeze of lime, and rolled everything up into burritos. They rocked.

Campfire Blueberry Cobbler serves 4-6 (or 2 with leftovers for breakfast)

For the topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on how cinnamon-y you like your topping)
1 large pinch kosher salt (1/8 teaspoon)

Before you leave on your camping trip, combine all of the dry ingredients in a lidded container (preferably one that is large enough to also cut the butter into) and mix thoroughly. Pack with the rest of your food for the trip.

To complete your cobbler:
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4-6 cups blueberries (depending on how your preferred fruit-to-topping ratio... we used about 4 cups of berries)
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar juice of 1 lemon

Equipment: one 10-inch Dutch oven, a knife, a campfire with hot coals, tongs

Grease the inside of a 10-inch Dutch oven with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the blueberries, brown sugar, and lemon juice to the Dutch oven and mix with your hands to combine.

Cut the remaining 5 tablespoons butter into the container with the dry topping mixture. Use your fingers to pinch the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture looks like a blend of sand and small pebbles. Spread this mixture evenly over the blueberries, and place the lid on the Dutch oven.

Spread a single layer of hot coals on one side of your campfire, and place the Dutch oven over the coals. Use the tongs to carefully place about 10 additional coals (12, if your coals are on the small side) on the top of the Dutch oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes, rotating the Dutch oven 90-180 degrees every 5-10 minutes so the cobbler cooks evenly.

Remove the Dutch oven to a bare patch of dirt, and carefully use the tongs to place the coals from the lid back into the fire. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven to make sure that the cobbler is cooked, and let cool with the lid off (or ajar, if it is buggy) for about 5 minutes before serving.