I have been asked many times over the last several summers for my favorite cobbler recipe. Every time, I have referred these inquiries elsewhere—usually to Deb—because the truth is that…I don’t like cobbler. It sounds so baby-ish to say it that way, that I just don’t like an entire category of food regardless of flavor or nuance or anything else. But I just don’t like it.
Or, as you may have gathered from the title of today’s recipe, I just didn’t like it.But that was before I started a blog and spent time trying to bake with all types of seasonal produce, even stone fruit, which I previously thought should never be warmed. Pre-2015 Liz would never, ever have eaten Plum Cake or Peach Tart and definitely would have passed on Peach Pie, and she would have looked on in horror as 2019 Liz ate apricot jam on an English muffin while in Maine a few weeks ago. But the truth is that having this blog has brought me around to all these things and more, and that’s how we got to this momentous day, on which I have prepared, eaten and enjoyed a cobbler.
Um, sorry. Got a little carried away there.In retrospect, I’m not sure why I ever turned my nose up at this particular category of dessert—I mean, what could be bad about fluffy biscuits baked over seasonal fruit and served with ice cream?! Too many textures, maybe? I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll figure it out one day. For now, I know that I’m a cobbler convert, thanks in no small part to the glut of fabulous plums at my local green market and a drive to bake even when my un-air-conditioned kitchen is already 85 degrees.Trust me, though. This Plum Cobbler is worth heating up the house. It may very well make a believer of even the staunchest of the anti-cooked-stone-fruit contingent.The filling is made of sliced fresh plums (I used a mix of red and black), sugar, lemon juice and ground ginger for depth, and a touch of cornstarch. It’s piled into a baking dish and dotted with butter.Next up is the topping, which is simply my Cream Biscuit recipe with an additional tablespoon of sugar. Instead of rolling and cutting the biscuit dough as I usually would, I prefer to scoop the dough in small increments and then flatten them with my hands.The flattened pieces are then arranged in a cobblestone pattern—this is where the name cobbler comes from. After brushing the dough with cream and sprinkling on some coarse sugar, everything is baked for 45 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the filling is bubbling.Maybe my favorite thing about cobbler (and crisps and crumbles) is that it’s best hot from the oven. I like to let mine cool ten minutes, just until the filling stops bubbling, before spooning it into shallow bowls and finishing it off with vanilla ice cream.Plum Cobbler is tart and sweet and a bit on the syrupy side, the perfect contrast to the fluffy biscuit topping. And that’s to say nothing of the outstanding vibrant color of the filling or the way slow-melting ice cream rounds out this bowl of late summer goodness. It’s damn near impossible to resist.
makes one 9×13-inch dish, about 12-16 servings
4 pounds plums (about 10-12 plums; I used a mix of red & black)
1/2-2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Cream Biscuit Topping:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream + more for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
vanilla ice cream
Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Set aside.
Use a large sharp chef’s knife to pit and slice plums into wedges (I got about 12 wedges per plum). Place plum pieces in a large mixing bowl. Fold in sugar, ground ginger, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer filling to prepared baking dish and dot with butter.
Make the cream biscuit topping. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in heavy cream and fold into a sticky dough.
Scoop biscuit dough in ~2 tablespoon increments, flatten them with you hands, and arrange them in a cobblestone pattern over the filling. Brush the biscuit topping with more cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using. Bake cobbler 45-50 minutes, or until golden on top with bubbling filling.
Let cobbler cool 5-10 minutes before serving with vanilla ice cream. Cobbler is best the day it’s made, but leftovers may be tightly covered and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4. Reheat before serving.