Pies, cobblers, buckles, crisps, slumps, grunts, tarts, galettes...did I miss any? Oh right--pandowdys, teacakes, crumbles, and of course bettys, fools, and trifles. I love any playfully named fruit dessert. And I think I've tried at least one variation of them all.
But this summer, I've been stuck on cobblers. I'd call it a rut, but I think the term 'rut' evokes something you'd like to get out of. And that is certainly not the case.
A cobbler is traditionally a deep-dish fruit dessert. Usually there is no bottom crust, not that you'll miss it if the top crust--a dense, sweet cream biscuit--is done right. Some cobbler recipes call for you to precook the fruit, have a special ingredient on hand...or, for goodness sake, roll out the topping dough. I've tried many recipes. And many of them were great. Fantastic, even. And they are surely dog-eared for company. But for us? When the threat of too many dirty utensils is certain to stop me from attempting a homemade dessert at dinner time...well, you can understand my dilemma. Because summer without endless cobbler? I think not.
Enter a simpler, humble version, ready to be adapted to whatever is lurking in your fridge. It is my every day cobbler recipe, though I should probably call it my every-other-day cobbler recipe because that's roughly how often I've made it this season. You can find fancier. And you can even find, I daresay, tastier. But easier and faster and still hit all the right cobbler notes? Hmmm, again, I think not.
Basic Cobbler Recipe **any fruit will work, though I suggest a stone fruit, like peaches, along with a handful of ripe berries, like blackberries or blueberries. I'm a big fan of such combos (and I do mean big (or at least squishy) if you catch my eating-too-much-cobbler drift). Oh, and see the apples above? Sometimes those sneak in there, too.**
- 4 cups prepped fruit (washed, peeled, etc...to blanch-peel peaches, make a little x at the base with a sharp knife, plunge into boiling water for about 30 seconds, remove, allow to cool a bit, slip skins off)
- 1 Tbl corn starch
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup sugar (sometimes I do 1/4 white + 1/4 brown sugar)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 C flour
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 T butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 C milk/buttermilk/cream...whatever you need to use up in your fridge--each of these results in a slightly different biscuit so I recommend trying each one to determine your favorite.
Preheat oven to 425. For filling, rub the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt together. Add fruit and gently toss. Spoon fruit, including all rendered juices, into a pie pan. For topping, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until the size of large peas. Pour in the milk/buttermilk/cream and vanilla. Stir just until the liquid is incorporated into the dry ingredients and forms a batter (it will be lumpy). Drop by large spoonfuls on top of fruit--no need to cover the fruit completely.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until fruit filling is bubbly and biscuits are golden. Eat warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Repeat again and again and again...