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May 7, 2024

Johnnycake Cobblers

These Johnnycake cobblers start with a layer of sweetened stone fruit and then are topped with a crunchy, sweet, and tender cornmeal biscuit. 

Johnnycake Cobblers with peaches and cherries in ramekins.


Johnnycake cobblers are from the traditional American rustic biscuit-topped family of fruit desserts. 

Why the name johnnycake, you ask? The name comes from johnnycake meal, which is a coarsely ground white cornmeal, also called Rhode Island white cornmeal with roots from the indigenous people of North America. In their simplest form, johnnycakes are "pancakes" made with cornmeal and are traditional along the East Coast. I understand that in the South, they are also known as hoecakes. 

Johnnycake Cobblers on a cooling rack.


In the case of these cobblers the biscuits are made with stone ground cornmeal, typically from white corn. 

I couldn't find the johnnycake white cornmeal locally. Most of the white cornmeal available in our area is specially treated to make tamales or tortillas! Fortunately, yellow cornmeal works just fine and is actually really pretty against the colorful fruit. 

These biscuits are delicious! They have the texture of tender biscuits but with a sweet corn taste and crunch. While they don't include a lot of sugar, they are naturally sweet from the cornmeal. 

Johnnycake Cobblers in ramekins with some on a yellow cake plate.


The first time I made these, I used both fresh plums and nectarines for the filling. This time, I used fresh frozen uncooked peaches and cherries (frozen because stone fruit has not come into the stores and farmers markets yet). 

Fortunately, any fresh or frozen stone fruit or a mix of stone fruit and berries would work for these cobblers. You just need to cook the fruit a bit longer when it is frozen to reduce the liquid. 

Ingredients:

For the Fruit Filling:

About 6 cups of fresh or frozen sliced fruit such as nectarines, plums, cherries, or peaches. 

Sugar - you will only need about 1/4 cup. 

Butter, for dissolving the sugar and sautéing the fruit. 

For the Biscuits:

Unbleached all-purpose flour. 

Stone ground cornmeal, white or yellow. 

Sugar - you only need about 3 tablespoons. 

Sea salt

Cold unsalted butter

Heavy cream (in a pinch, milk will work too). 

Minced ginger (optional). I used some ginger paste that you can usually find in the produce section. 

Johnnycake Cobblers with some of the fruit juice dripping out.


These cobblers are super easy to make. 

Before I made these for the first time back in 2013, 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. It's too much of a high wire act for me 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! 

Johnnycake Cobblers in white ramekins on white plates with some on a yellow cake plate.


More Tips:

To serve this dessert for dinner guests, you can make the filling and mix the the biscuit ingredients except the cream in advance. Keep the biscuit mix in the fridge to keep the butter cold, and then add the cream 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?! 

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. 

I prepared these cobblers in individual ramekins, but you can also serve the whole thing in a pie pan or cake pan, and just dollop the biscuit batter on top. 

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They make great leftovers for breakfast! 

More Cobbler Recipes:

Blackberry Cobbler

Cherry Cobbler with a Sugar Cookie Crust

Mixed Berry Cobblers


More Alphabet Challenge Recipes:

This week, we are sharing recipes that begin with the Letter J!


Johnnycake Cobblers in white ramekins.



Johnnycake Cobblers

Johnnycake Cobblers
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 Hour
These Johnnycake cobblers start with a layer of sweetened stone fruit and then are topped with a crunchy, sweet, and tender cornmeal biscuit.

Ingredients

For the Fruit Filling
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 cups of mixed fresh or frozen stone fruit, sliced (such as nectarines, peaches, plums, or cherries)
To Make the Biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces/192 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground white or yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Instructions

  1. For the fruit filling, melt the butter in a large saucepan or saucier over low heat.
  2. Add the sugar, raise the heat to medium, and stir until the sugar is melted.
  3. Add the fruit and cook on medium until softened.
  4. Raise the heat to medium high and cook the fruit, stirring often, until it reaches a pie filling consistency but still juicy.
  5. Spoon the filling into six 4-inch ramekins.
  6. Place the ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.
  8. Place the dry ingredients for the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
  9. Add the ginger and butter pieces and toss them with a spoon to coat them with the flours.
  10. Place the lid back on the food processor and pulse about 18 times until you have the consistency of course polenta/grits.
  11. Pour the flour/butter mix into a bowl, add the cream, and stir with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. You will have a mixture with the consistency of oatmeal.
  12. Divide the batter into 6 parts and gently spoon it over the filling.
  13. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown on top.
  14. Cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

494

Fat (grams)

31 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

15 g

Carbs (grams)

47 g

Fiber (grams)

10 g

Net carbs

38 g

Sugar (grams)

15 g

Protein (grams)

13 g

Cholesterol (grams)

68 mg
cobblers, johnnycakes,
dessert
American
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @karenskitchenstories.com on instagram and hashtag it #karenskitchenstories


Originally posted August 2013. Updated May, 2024. 

Recipe adapted from Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America's Best Bakers - In Classic Julia Style. Written by Dorie Greenspan and published in 1996. 


Johnnycake Cobblers in white ramekins.





Would you like to comment?

  1. I've made cobbler very few times, and they all look different. I love this bowl idea Karen, so the filling stays where it should! They look awfully tempting!

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    Replies
    1. I love individual sized anything Paula. =)

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  2. Beautifully done, Karen! I have a feeling this will be the first of many cobblers :)

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  3. sounds like a delicious easy recipe. Will definitely have to try it out.
    I had a go with the crostata instead.

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    Replies
    1. I went back and forth but didn't feel like hunting down figs.

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  4. these look lovely in their white ramekins! i cut back on the biscuit, too...i like a good amount of fruit to filling in mine.

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  5. Gorgeous photos. These were incredibly easy weren't they? I liked the corn meal topping, not so much the filling. Maybe if there was a little spice added, I would have.

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    Replies
    1. My filling was really good, but maybe I cooked it down more. The recipe didn't say how long to cook the fruit. Mine was pretty flavorful.

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  6. The cobbler looks so nice in the ramekins. I didn't like this recipe so much. Loved the fruit part, just not the topping.

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    Replies
    1. It's so interesting to see everyone's take on the recipe. Next time I will cut back on the topping but still use it. Mine was very corn bready flavored.

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  7. Love the filling oozing over the side of the ramekin. I can't imagine making any dessert on a work night - gold star for you!

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    Replies
    1. I am a little crazed Cher. I fought mightily with myself before just going for it!

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  8. These look amazing, I love the individual servings. I haven't made a cobbler before either I will have to give this one a go!

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  9. Your cobbler looks so elegant! And thanks for the tip about making parts in advance. I'm always looking for quick after work recipes, and you've given me another one. I also haven't made a cobbler before, but reading all the comments I'd really like to try this one.

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  10. It has been a pleasant première for me as well. Quick, easy and delicious.
    I made a big cobbler but the next time I'll go with individual servings: yours looks gorgeous!

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  11. Beautiful photography. Your pictures have such a lovely holiday flair to them with the use of the red back drop, it seems like Christmas in August. :-) Great job.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! It's actually an azalea plant in full bloom.

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  12. Replies
    1. Aren't they cute? I'm addicted to little dishes.

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  13. Karen,
    The idea of a cobbler sounds perfect to me while I'm staring out at a snowy landscape. I've got put up peaches so I think I'll give this a try with frozen fruit. The freezing process would result in softened fruit anyway, so halfway there.
    Thanks!

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  14. Cobblers are one of my very favorite desserts!

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  15. Love homey, easy desserts like this. The cornmeal really makes these special.

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  16. Cobblers are my go to summer dessert especially with outdoor bbq's. I do love a berry cobbler and have wild blackberries. I haven't tried a topping with cornmeal but will give this one a try and do love the idea of individual servings, it looks so pretty! I watched the episode this morning and I just loved seeing Julia.....she was so special and I miss her!!!

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    Replies
    1. I miss her too! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  17. I love the idea of using cornbread as a topping for a sweet dessert.

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  18. This wouldn't even make it to dessert at my house...totally a breafast treat!

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  19. How fun! We made hoecakes for Presidents' Day when the boys were little...on a sterilized garden hoe! They were so tickled. And I know they would LOVE this recipe.

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    Replies
    1. How fun!! I had no idea what hoecakes are.

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  20. Went to school in RI, ate plenty of Johnnycakes during my time there, love the idea of using it as cobbler topping! Pinning for blueberry and blackberry season.

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