Wild Blackberry Cobbler and Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Ice Cream

We were driving down the little two-lane route nationale D934 east of Paris the other day, and Xavier decided to turn down a grassy road, leading nowhere far as I could tell, because he thought that there might be a good patch of land for Rose to run and play. It didn’t look like much to me, but I didn’t say anything, because I’m shy that way. Just keeping to myself like I do.

We passed a huge cornfield and the road curled to the left, and soon we were smack dab in front of a fat, grassy trail that snaked through hilly pastures filled with white cows that led straight to a forest – lined with gobs of wild blackberry bushes.

Happy dance! I didn’t know whether to just pick them and eat them, or pick them and save them, so I did both.

I didn’t have anything to put the berries in, and neither did Xavier, who realized that my blackberry picking had taken a serious turn, and started walking back to the car to find a plastic bag.

“Wait,” I said. “Your hat – it’s perfect.”

Which is how his Texas Rangers baseball cap became my wild blackberry sack.

Truth is, I’d never picked wild blackberries, and I was clearly a novice, because I kept getting stuck – and stung – by the thorns. Pshaw to the thorns, I said, and just kept on picking. Some were so ripe that they practically fell apart in my hands. These, of course, I had to eat immediately.

The rest made it into these little individual Wild Blackberry Cobblers. I simply used Mom’s Peach Cobbler recipe, and substituted blackberries for peaches.

For fun, I made Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Ice Cream, inspired once again by a recipe in David Lebovitz’s book, “The Perfect Scoop.” Mine’s a bit lighter, with less cream, eggs instead of yolks only, and I used dark brown sugar because I thought that it would give the ice cream a nice caramelly taste, and work perfectly with the wild blackberries.

Turns out I was right. I think that this would go really well with other fruit cobblers and pies, or simply topped with berries, or with anything chocolate. Come to think of it, it’s just fine on its own, too. Way fine, in fact.

Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart
2 cups milk
¾ cup dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup cream

1. Warm the milk, sugar, salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs together.

3. When tiny bubbles appear on the side of the pan, the milk’s ready. Pour a bit into the eggs, while whisking furiously so the eggs don’t scramble. Then, pour it all back in the saucepan, turn on the heat again and let it cook for a couple of minutes, until the mixture thickens just to the point that it’ll coat the back of a wooden spoon.

4. Remove from heat, add the cream, and let cool. Put in an ice bath if you’d like, or let cool, then put in fridge for 4 hours or so, until well chilled.

5. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, scoop and enjoy.