Fruit Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
When I crave the comfort of fruit baked in a pie, but I don’t have time to make a pie crust, I make a cobbler. I think of the cobbler as a quintessentially American dessert, though the biscuits that top the fruit could just as easily be called scones. It’s a topping that is quickly mixed together, requires no rolling out and only needs 30 minutes chilling (though it will take as long as you want to give it), the same amount of time that you let the sugared fruit sit so that their juices can emerge.
The classic biscuit cobbler topping is a mix of white flour, sugar and butter. But biscuits lend themselves to whole grain flours. I have had particularly light results with whole wheat pastry flour from Anson Mills and from Community Grains.
I find this particular mix of whole wheat flour, almond flour and corn flour even lighter than a white flour biscuit topping; it isn’t stodgy. It’s moist and rich tasting, with sweet, nutty accents.
As for the fruit, I have a weakness for baked peaches, but I have also made this cobbler with cherries alone, at the height of their season. I like to mix the two fruits together as well. Berry cobblers are also irresistible. The point is to choose ripe fruit that will give up its juice as it bakes. You know that the cobbler is done when you see the juices bubbling around the edges of the baking dish and between the nicely browned biscuit cobblestones. Pull it from the oven, give it time to settle, and then enjoy. The top will be cakey, but it will also taste like you’ve dipped fresh from the oven scones into the most luxurious, jammy syrup.
Stone Fruit Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour | 60 g | 1/2 cup
Almond Flour (almond meal) | 55 g | 1/2 cup
Corn Flour, (cornmeal), finely ground | 55 g | 1/2 cup
Baking Powder |8 g | 2 teaspoons
Baking Soda | 2 g | 1/2 teaspoon
Fine Sea Salt | 1.5 g | 1/4 teaspoon
Butter, cold | 85 g | 6 tablespoons
Organic Sugar | 50 g | 1/4 cup
Buttermilk or Plain Yogurt (not thick or Greek) | 140 g | Scant 2/3 cup
Stone Fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries), ripe, pitted & sliced | 1800 g | 4 pounds / 9 cups
Organic Sugar, Brown Sugar or Turbinado Sugar | 70 g | 4 tablespoons
Lemon Juice, Fresh | 15 g | 1 tablespoon
Almond Extract | 2 g | 1/3 teaspoon
Cornstarch | 10 g | 1 tablespoon
Egg Wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk), As Needed
Organic Sugar or Turbinado Sugar | 10 g | 2 teaspoons
Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving | As Needed
Sift together the whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, corn flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Cut the cold butter into ½ inch pieces.
Place the sifted flour mixture and the 50 grams sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse to cut into the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. With the machine running, add the buttermilk or yogurt and run just until the mixture is uniform.
Line a sheet pan with parchment. Scoop out heaped rounded tablespoons of the biscuit mixture onto the parchment. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour (or longer).
Meanwhile, pit and slice the fruit and toss in a large bowl with the 70 grams sugar, the lemon juice, almond extract and cornstarch. Allow to sit for 30 minutes or longer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180˚C). Butter a 2½ quart baking dish. Scrape the fruit and all of the liquid in the bowl into the buttered baking dish and spread evenly. Top with the chilled rounds of biscuit dough. There will be some open spaces between the pieces.
Bake 45 minutes, rotating the baking dish halfway through. Remove from the oven and brush the top with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons sugar. Return to the oven and bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and shiny.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.