Now this is where summer lives. Fruit desserts. I mentioned last week that I’d be whipping up the summertime treats while I can, so here we go.
And speaking of summer, I’ve been so busy getting settled in Boston that I haven’t had a chance to appreciate the city and its beautiful views much. I took the time to get up early this past weekend and walk around the Charles River. As a person that’s been landlocked almost my whole life, I don’t think I’ll ever get over how beautiful the coast is.
Onto this cobbler. And more summer! You better put your shades on for this one.
When it comes to cooking with fruits, I’ll refer to this post on apple galettes.
Often, fruit pies require you to pre-bake the bottom crust partially before adding the filling and finishing off the pie. This allows the crust to be flaky and amazing as you’d expect a perfect pie crust to be. Fruit has a lot of water in it. You’re probably thinking, well duh, and you’re about to skip to the recipe. I have a point though! Keep reading…please :). When you bite into a peach or a blueberry, it’s obviously filled with lots of water. But, when fruit is heated to temperatures used during baking, the connections (cells) inside the flesh of the fruit break down releasing more water. That’s why when you thaw fruit that has been frozen, there is a lot of water that leaks out of the fruit. The ice crystals break these cell walls down just as the high heat does.
When we heat that starch with some water (hello water from the fruit), the interior of the starch granules loosens up and rather dramatically inflates. That causes a big increase in the amount of space that the starch takes up in the mix which causes a big decrease in the amount of space allowed for the water to take up. The result? Lower mobility for the water and a big increase in thickness! What do we call that? Starch gelatinization! One of my favorite food science-y things.
Thickened sauce = winning.
Now that you’re ready to tackle these fruits, are you feeling that summer vibe? Like I’ve noted in the recipe, feel free to use whatever fruits speak to you at the market. Cobblers are meant to be pretty freeform, so go for a big berry or stone fruit mix if you’d like. I love cobblers because the biscuits crisp up in a hot oven while the fruit boils and cooks underneath at the same time. The best kind of one-pan dessert.
Summer Fruit Cobbler
Feel free to swap out the fruits for what’s good and ripe near you and also what you like! I wouldn’t use super hard or super soft fruits here. But make sure they’re flavorful otherwise your cobbler will lack depth!
Adapted from Apt. 2B Baking Co.
Makes one cobbler, serves 7-8
2 cups blueberries
1 cup blackberries
2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped into ¾-inch pieces
2 small nectarines, peeled, pitted and chopped into ¾-inch pieces
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
A pinch kosher salt
Zest and juice of one medium lemon
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup buttermilk*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon coarse grain sugar
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 400⁰F.
- Make the filling. Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the fruit, vanilla, and lemon juice to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Make the biscuits. Stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined.
- Pour the fruit filling into a 9-10-inch pie or cake pan. Spoon the biscuit mixture over the top in either 7 or 8 pieces evenly. Brush the top of the biscuits with the heavy cream and dust the top with the coarse sugar.
- Put the pan on a baking sheet and slide into the preheated oven. Bake until the biscuits are golden-brown and the juices are bubbling, about 25 minutes.
- When finished baking, remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. If you wish, serve with whipped cream or ice cream!
*You can make a buttermilk substitute by putting a tablespoon of vinegar into a liquid measuring cup and filling to ½ cup with milk.