I'd never made cobbler before! I've always wanted to, but cobbler is something that is best served right after baking it, and I am not so good at dinner and dessert unless at least some of the courses can be made in advance. Too much of a high wire act when all I want to do is enjoy being with good friends and family.
I don't know why I waited so long. This recipe is so easy! I got home from work at 5:45, tossed the ingredients together, and this was ready for dessert. To serve this dessert for dinner guests, you can make the filling and mix the the biscuit ingredients except the milk in advance. Keep the biscuit mix in the fridge to keep the butter cold, and then add the milk just before assembling and baking the cobblers. How cool would it be to pull hot, fresh cobblers out of the oven and serve them to your guests?!
Why the name johnnycake, you ask? I asked the same question. The name comes from johnnycake meal, which is a coarsely ground white corn meal, also called Rhode Island white corn meal. I couldn't find it locally (although I didn't try all that hard). Fortunately, yellow corn meal works just fine and is actually really pretty against the colorful fruit. They taste like a cross between biscuits and corn bread.
I cut the original recipe in half, and used low fat milk instead of cream for the biscuits (mostly to avoid going to the store). I used both plums and nectarines for the filling, but any stone fruit or a mix of stone fruit and berries would work.
The biscuit dough is very wet, but don't be tempted to add more flour. It bakes into a beautiful crunchy biscuit that works beautifully with the fruit filling. Rustic and elegant at the same time.
This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie group is baking two desserts from Baking with Julia. We could choose from either the Johnnycake Cobblers (p. 389) or the Raspberry Fig Crostata (p. 374). Check out the Tuesdays with Dorie website for links to everyone's posts. I always learn so much after I've tried a recipe and then get to see how everyone else fared.
This is 1/2 of the original recipe and makes two cobblers with four inch ramekins. I had a lot of extra biscuit dough left over, so you could probably adjust the proportions.
Adapted from Baking with Julia edited by Dorie Greenspan.
1 1/2 T unsalted butter
2 T sugar
4 large plums and 2 large nectarines, cut into pieces (about 3 cups of fruit pieces)
3/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 C coarsely ground corn meal (white stone ground corn meal if you want to be totally authentic)
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 C plus 2 T milk or cream
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan or saucier over low heat.
- Add the sugar, raise the heat to medium, and stir until the sugar is melted.
- Add the fruit and cook on medium until softened.
- Raise the heat to medium high and cook the fruit, stirring often, until it reaches a pie filling consistency but still juicy.
- Spoon the filling into two 4 inch ramekins.
- Place the ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
- Add the butter pieces and toss them with a spoon to coat them with the flours.
- Pulse a few times until you have the consistency of course polenta/grits.
- Pour the flour/butter mix into a bowl, add the milk/cream, and stir with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. You will have a mixture with the consistency of oatmeal.
- Spoon the batter over the filling. I had quite a bit left over.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- Cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
This dessert is best served warm, but can be kept at room temperature for a few hours.