Do you have a happy place? Mine is our little farm in East Texas where my family goes to get away. While we are there we spend our time hunting, hiking, fishing, animal watching, campfire sitting and just enjoying the outdoors.
The accommodations are pretty rustic – just a little one-room cabin with a bathroom, a large closet and a small kitchenette. There is no oven so when cooking meals there, I typically rely heavily on the grill or campfire.
This blueberry cobbler was born on a recent family vacation to our farm. I was packing us up for one of our long weekend trips and just could not bring myself to make s’mores AGAIN.
To be clear, I am not sure there is a such thing as TOO MANY s’mores, but at the very least I was ready to add something new into our sweets rotation that would be yummy, easy and campfire-friendly.
This blueberry cobbler fits the bill! It’s easy, versatile and can also be made in a regular oven. However, if you are inclined to try your hand at outdoor dutch-oven cooking, this one can be done easily from your backyard with just a few common grilling tools (no campfire necessary).
Here’s how we do it!
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A Word About the Ingredients
Ok, so blueberries are my favorite (plus East Texas grows the BEST on the planet) and that’s why they are my fruit of choice for this recipe. However, as you may know, you can pretty much interchange any fruit – fresh or frozen work best – as the base for cobbler. Just be sure to pop one of those babies in your mouth to test it for sweetness. If it is more on the tart side, you will want to add extra sugar. I strongly suggest using fresh or frozen fruit, but canned fruit or pie filling can be used in a pinch.
The topping for this recipe is a little thicker and more of the consistency of a sweet biscuit or even a cake, which is my preference. Bring me all the cake! We also like a lot of fruit in comparison to topping so you could always cut back on the fruit if you prefer a higher topping to fruit ratio.
Serve with Ice Cream
Ok, so I don’t think I can even have cobbler without a little vanilla ice cream on it. In our neck of the woods, Blue Bell Ice Cream is king, and I love to serve this cobbler with a scoop of regular vanilla Blue Bell on top. In a pinch, I GUESS whipped cream would do.
What is a Dutch Oven?
There are many pots referred to as dutch ovens but for this recipe and method, a traditional dutch oven is needed. That means, it must have feet on the bottom so it will sit over the coals. Also, the lid should be “flanged” which means it is flat with a lip around the edge allowing hot coals to sit on top without falling off. You certainly don’t have to make it this way (see note below about cooking in a conventional oven), but if you do want to try cooking outside, it is important to have this kind of dutch oven.
Note: You can also set the dutch oven down in the fire or over a grate that is situated over the fire. Some people even use a metal arm that allows the dutch oven to hang over the fire. For this post, I am describing our specific way of doing it which I think is an easy and accessible method not requiring any super special tools or setup.
Do I have to make this outside over hot coals?
Nope. You can make this same recipe in the oven too! Just use a 9×13 casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Toss your fruit with sugar and lemon zest and pour into bottom of casserole. Then, add the flour and milk mixture over the top and spread butter chunks evenly over that. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until bubbling and browned on top.
How to Make Traditional Dutch Oven Blueberry Cobbler
Now, let’s talk about the tools you need if you are endeavoring to make this in the traditional way – over hot coals!
- Dutch Oven (our 4-quart dutch oven is pictured in this post)
- Charcoal starter chimney (or other way to heat the coals)
- Aluminum foil
- Grilling tongs or spatula for lifting hot charcoal
- Lid lifter, pliers or other grippers to lift hot dutch oven lid
- Dutch oven liners or parchment paper (optional but make for easy clean up!)
How to Prepare Hot Coals for Dutch Oven Cooking
First, place a large piece of aluminum foil (slightly larger than your dutch oven) on the ground or grass. (Important: Be careful there are no pieces of wood or sticks nearby that could catch fire.) We typically lay two of these down and use the first one kind of like a staging area (to pour a pile of coals onto) and the second for cooking.
Next, light and heat your charcoal until the coals are white but not disintegrating. We do this in the same charcoal starter chimney we use when preparing coals for grilling meat. You only need about ten coals for a 4-quart dutch oven so fill your starter chimney about half full (there will be coals that don’t get used but that’s okay). Preparing the coals only takes 10-15 minutes. While your coals are heating, go ahead and assemble the ingredients in your dutch oven.
Assemble Cobbler Ingredients in the Dutch Oven
For making the cobbler, insert your dutch oven liner or parchment into the bottom of your dutch oven.
Next, toss blueberries with sugar and lemon zest.
Then, pour blueberries into bottom of the dutch oven.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and milk and spoon or pour over top of fruit.
Add butter chunks evenly across the flour mixture and set the lid down on top.
Once your coals are ready, pour some of them into a little pile on one of your two aluminum foil squares. Take 4 or 5 coals from the pile and set them evenly on the second aluminum foil square (where you will be setting the dutch oven for cooking).
Place the dutch oven on top of the hot coals and use the tongs to carefully place 5-10 additional hot coals on top of the lid.
Cook like this for about 20-25 minutes, lifting the lid once or twice to check and see how it is looking. If it is cooking too fast you can remove coals from the top and if it is cooking too slow, you can add a few.
It is done when it is bubbling and brown on top and looks like this…
Serve warm with scoop of vanilla ice cream down over the top!
Here’s the recipe! Happy campfire cooking!
Dutch Oven Blueberry Cobbler
- traditional campfire dutch oven (footed on the bottom with a flanged lid, allowing coals to sit on top)
- heavy duty aluminum foil
- lid lifter, pliers or something to lift hot dutch oven lid
- tongs or small shovel for moving hot coals
- charcoal (and a way to heat it)
- Dutch oven liners or parchment paper (optional but makes clean up easier)
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh
- 2 cups blueberries, frozen
- 1 1/4 cup flour, all purpose
- 3/4 cup sugar, granulated
- 6 tbsp butter, unsalted divided into 8-10 squares
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 2 tbsp sugar, to toss with fruit if needed
- zest from one lemon
- Spread two pieces of foil on the ground near your fire or grilling chimney, one for piling coals and one for cooking. The cooking foil should be big enough to place the entire dutch oven on top of it.
- Heat coals in chimney or campfire until white but not disintegrating.
- While coals are heating, mix your cobbler in the dutch oven.
- Line the dutch oven with the liner (or parchment). This is not 100% necessary but makes for handy cleanup.
- Toss blueberries (or fruit of choice) with sugar and lemon zest and pour into dutch oven.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add milk.
- Spoon the flour and milk mixture over the top of the fruit in the dutch oven.
- Spread the butter pieces over the top of the batter.
- Put the lid on the dutch oven.
- Pour coals into a pile on one piece of foil. Using tongs or a small shovel, place 4-5 pieces of coal on the 2nd piece of aluminum foil and set the dutch oven on top of the coals.
- Add 5-10 hot coals on top of the dutch oven lid.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling (add or remove coals from the top to adjust temperature)
- Serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
- If cooking in oven, use 9×13 casserole and spray with cooking spray. Then, pour in fruit, top with spoonfuls of the flour mixture and dot with butter. Cover with foil and cook for 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees.
- I use a mixture of fresh and frozen because I like the texture that creates. You can use all frozen or all fresh (or even canned).
- Be sure to test your fruit for sweetness and toss with an additional tablespoon or 2 of sugar if it’s more on the tart side.
- To make ahead to take on our camping trips, I mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a container with tight-fitting lid. When it’s time to assemble the cobbler, I toss the berries in a bowl with the additional sugar and lemon zest, pour into bottom of dutch oven (or casserole) and mix the milk into the flour mixture and spoon it over the top. Finally, I add the pats of butter and it’s ready to bake or cook over the fire!