Serviceberry cobbler made in a cast iron pan is an unbelievably simple and delicious dessert recipe. Made with serviceberries/Amelanchier (also called saskatoons and junberries), but you could also substitute blueberries or cane berries to make an amazing fruit cobbler in a cast iron pan.
A quick ode to serviceberries
Serviceberries are a relatively obscure native fruit that tastes like a cross between blueberries, peaches, and almonds. We call them serviceberries here in the southeast, but other regions refer to them as saskatoons and juneberries.
If you’ve never had serviceberries before, you’re missing out. Remedy: please read our article How to grow, forage, and eat serviceberries.
If this recipe looks delicious to you, but you simply can not get your hands on serviceberries, we’d recommend substituting blueberries 1:1 for serviceberries in this recipe. Blueberries have a slightly higher water content, that won’t matter for this recipe. If you keep our exact recipe ratios, that means you’d want to use 2 cups of blueberries (preferably fresh but frozen are fine, too).
You could also use cane berries like raspberries or blackberries as a backup. Also note that you can use frozen serviceberries for this recipe, if you don’t have fresh.
Serviceberry cobbler recipe tips:
This recipe went through a few iterations before we were ready to share it with you. We set out to make a super-simple cobbler recipe in a cast iron pan that was also beautiful.
We think we accomplished that aim. The gorgeous, purple-marbled swirls make this cobbler almost too pretty to eat.
While the recipe is surprisingly simple to make, there are a few key details you’ll want to get just right to replicate it, as detailed below:
1. Cast iron pan size (and seasoning)
You’ll want to use a well-seasoned cast iron pan to make this recipe. No, “well-seasoned” doesn’t mean covered in crud, it means it’s got a perfectly polymerized finish on it which makes it no-stick. Otherwise, your cobbler may have an iron-heavy taste given the acidity of the fruit mixture used.
Also, pan size is very important. We use a 9″ antique cast iron Wagner, which holds a little over 5 cups. So aim for a cast iron pan somewhere in that size range.
If your pan is larger, that might mean a shorter bake time. We wouldn’t go with a smaller pan or your cobbler will bubble over.
(Related read: Antique cast iron pans: how to get the best cookware ever made for under $20.)
Is there a cast iron alternative for this recipe? Using whatever appropriately-sized baking dish you have available (glass, ceramic, etc) pre-bake your berry mixture for 5 minutes in the oven then pour your batter in. We haven’t tried this, so you’ll be flying solo on this method.
2. Blender batter
Batter made in a blender? Yep, easy peasy. Just follow the recipe instructions in the recipe card.
Don’t have a blender? Just use a bowl and whisk.
Also note that the batter in this recipe will be quite watery. Don’t worry, it will bake up to perfection.
3. Flash-cook berries for about 5 minutes before adding batter
You’re going to start off on your stovetop cooking your berry mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Having a hot pan and berries is crucial for achieving the elegant marbled look on your finished cobbler.
So don’t be tempted to put all the ingredients in the pan and stick them in the oven. Your cobbler won’t turn out as well or as pretty.
4. Pour in batter in circular motion and do NOT mix together
On the subject of that watery batter… If you want to achieve the beautiful purple marbled look of the cobbler in this article, do the following: remove the hot berries from the burner and immediately begin pouring the batter into the hot berries in a circular motion.
Go slowly here; you don’t want to dump all your batter in at once or into one spot. And you’ll need a spatula to get all the batter out of your blender.
5. Bake time
As soon as all your batter is in the pan, immediately put it on the middle oven rack in your pre-heated oven. Let it bake until it’s firm in the middle but not any longer.
In our oven and pan, our cobbler was done in about 40 minutes. Yours may bake faster depending on pan size, type of baking dish used, and how your oven cooks.
So your first time making this recipe, keep a close eye on your serviceberry cobbler once you hit the 30 minute mark to make sure you don’t bake it too long.
6. Serve with good vanilla ice cream (or similar dairy dessert)
Can you eat this serviceberry cobbler as-is? Sure.
However, it will really benefit from a vanilla-flavored dairy topping like ice cream or whipped cream. The flavors are beautifully complimentary.
Now let’s get cooking!
Recipe: Simple skillet serviceberry cobbler
Serviceberry cobbler in a cast iron pan
A simple and delicious dessert recipe made with serviceberries (Amelanchier) — also called saskatoons and junberries — made in a cast iron pan.
For berry mixture
- 2 cups serviceberries Alternative: blueberries or cane berries
- 1/4 cup organic grass-fed butter, unsalted
- 1/4 cup organic dark brown cane sugar, densely packed
- 2 tbsp organic lemon juice (Meyer lemon best)
- 1 tsp organic orange zest (we used blood orange zest)
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves, preferably freshly grated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup King Arthur organic white whole wheat flour measured using scoop and scrape method (or use kitchen scale to measure 3.4 ounces / 96 grams) Alternative: organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup organic grass-fed whole milk
- 1/3 cup organic plain whole Greek yogurt (we used Wallaby brand - other brands may be more watery)
- 1 duck egg (or large chicken egg)
- 1/4 cup melted organic grass-fed butter (2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup organic dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt or 1/4 tsp
Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
Make batter. Fast way: put all BATTER ingredients into blender (EXCEPT for flour and baking powder), then blend for about 30 seconds. Mix flour and baking powder in bowl, then add to blender and blend again for about 30 seconds. Use spatula to remove any dry or clumped ingredients from sides of blender, then blend again. Set aside. (Note: This is a very wet batter!)
Using spoon, mix all BERRY ingredients (except for butter) in bowl. Put 1/4 cup butter in cast iron pan over medium heat. Once melted, add berry mixture. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.
Remove berries from heat and instantly pour in batter. Carefully pour batter in using a circular motion around the pan to achieve an attractive marbled look with batter fairly evenly distributed throughout pan.
Immediately put pan in pre-heated oven and cook for about 40 minutes, or until center is firm. Each oven bakes a little differently so keep a close eye after about 30 minutes so you don't over-bake yours!
Remove from heat and place on cooling rack. Serve warm with quality vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
More native fruit recipes you’ll love:
- Crustless serviceberry custard pie
- Pawpaw passion fruit sorbet
- American persimmon pie with chestnut flour crust & maple whipped cream
- Acorn flour & persimmon cookies
- Sparkling native passion fruit-Meyer lemon cordial
- Beautyberry jello
- Chestnut flour crepes with beautyberry whipped cream
- Homemade elderberry syrup
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