{recipe} Nancy’s Impossible Blackberry Cobbler

This recipe is an old one from my brother-in-law’s wonderful mother Nancy. In her youth she had been a model, and even as a grandmother she was effortlessly regal, elegant, stylish, and graceful–in contrast to the mostly short, curvy klutzes in our family. But most of all she was warm and generous. She was also an accomplished and creative cook.

My own mom and I were sifting through some recipes last weekend and serendipitously found a printout of an ancient email from Nancy, with a friendly note and one of her beloved cobbler recipes. Just like Nancy, the cobbler was pretty much perfect. We miss you, Nancy!

When we read over the recipe, my mom mentioned that, in what I will euphemistically refer to as “The Olden Days”, people would make “impossible” cobblers or pies using their trusty box of Bisquick and a no-mix technique of this sort. It’s fun to do because it’s kind of like a science experiment.

The basic concept is that you melt butter in a dish, then add batter on top without stirring it into the butter, then add a fruit mixture on top without stirring it into the batter or the butter. It looks like a big ol’ mess in the pan, but during the cooking process, most of the batter bubbles up to form a crust over the fruit. The result is a pretty, swirly, delicious cobbler that’s as easy as pie.  Actually, it’s easier. Pie is hard to make… which is why I tend to prefer making cobbler in the first place!

Nancy’s Impossible Blackberry Cobbler

serves 8-10


  • 6 Tblsp butter
  • 4 1/2 cups blackberries (or mixed berries), including juice
  • 3 Tblsp + 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • zest of 1-2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  • Turn oven to 375 degrees. Put butter in a deep-sided 9×13 pan or a 5 qt. souffle dish, and put the pan  in the oven to melt the butter.
  • Meanwhile, heat berries with 3 Tblsp sugar and lemon zest until warm and set aside. (You can use more or less sugar depending on how tart the berries are.)
  • In a bowl, mix remaining 3/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, and salt until smooth. Pour mixture slowly over the melted butter in the casserole dish. DO NOT STIR. Pour berries and juice slowly over the batter and butter. DO NOT STIR.
  • Bake 30-40 minutes. The crust will form over the top of the fruit and lightly brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

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3 Responses

  1. Anna says:

    I love old recipes like this. Thanks for publishing it. My first one is in the oven now, it smells heavenly!

  1. November 19, 2010

    […] shared a recipe from Nancy a few weeks ago, and this is another one of her hits. This is a dessert that is definitely more […]