Cobbler, crisp, pandowdy, shortcake, strudel, pie. Each of these baked fruit desserts are similar and each has its followers. For berries, few can beat the cobbler with its biscuit crust. The following recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen in Brookline, Massachusetts, where the science of cooking is taken very seriously.
I picked blueberries in Scottsville from bushes laden with beautiful berries and served them in individual cobblers, topped with vanilla ice cream, that night. Raves all around!
½ cup sugar
1 tblsp. cornstarch
Pinch ground cinnamon
6 cups (30 oz) fresh berries, rinsed and picked over
(or 5 peaches and 1 cup blueberries)
1 ½ teaspoon grated zest and 1 tblsp. juice from 1 lemon
(or 1/4 cup freshly squeezed o.j.)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tblsp. stone-ground cornmeal
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tblsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 375 degrees.
For Filling: Stir the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt together in large bowl. Add the berries and mix gently with a rubber spatula until evenly coated; add the lemon zest and juice and mix to combine. Transfer berry mixture to 9-inch glass pie plate (or place in individual ramekins as pictured). Place pie plate or ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, and bake until filling is hot and bubbling around edges, about 25 minutes.
For Biscuit Topping: Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in large bowl to combine. Whisk melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla together in small bowl. Mix the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar with cinnamon in a second small bowl and set aside. One minute before berries come out of oven, add wet to dry ingredients; stir with rubber spatula until just combined and no dry pockets remain.
To Assemble and Bake Cobbler: Remove the berries from the oven; increase the heat to 425. Pinch off 8 equal pieces of biscuit dough and place them on the hot berry filling, spacing them at least ½ inch apart (not touching). Sprinkle each mound of dough with cinnamon sugar. Bake until the filling is bubbling and biscuits are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cobbler on a wire rack for 20 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.
VARIATION: Follow recipe, adding 3 tblsp. minced crystalized ginger to the flour mixture and substituting an equal amount of ground ginger for the cinnamon mixed with sugar for sprinkling on biscuits.