This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe has been one of my absolute favorite recipes the group has baked so far. I have always loved the combination of cornmeal and fruit (as evidenced by one of my favorite desserts being Blueberry Cornbread). When I saw the recipe for a cobbler that employed a hefty dose of cornmeal in the biscuit topping, I immediately voted for this recipe to made by the group as soon as possible.
The same week I was supposed to be baking the cobbler, our local store began selling a beautiful variety of pluots - plum/apricot hybrids of all different colors. Yellow, pink, black, red, speckled, and streaked - pluots are sometimes called "dinosaur eggs" due to their appearance and each variety has its own unique sweet flavor. They were perfect for use in this cobbler!
Everything was thrown together in a matter of minutes. First, the fruit is sauteed in butter and sugar to help release and reduce the fruit juices. While the fruit cooks down, a simple biscuit batter is formed. The recipe called for the use of a food processor, but I just used my hands. I chose to omit the ginger from the biscuit simply because I really do not think ginger and cornmeal mix well. I also did not use *all* the heavy cream called for in the recipe as I only had 1/2 cup left in my fridge and really did not feel like going to the store for more. I ended up using 1 cup of buttermilk to make up for the additional liquid.
The biscuit topping is carefully spooned on top of the warm fruit and then everything is baked until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling away. The whole house smelled heavenly.
I removed the cobbler from the oven, snapped a few photos, and then Paul and I brandished our spoons and began to dig in. This proved to be a huge mistake as we both have been unable to taste anything for the past few days since we burnt our faces off. However, that piping hot bite of glorious cobbler was totally worth it. This recipe is a keeper. The biscuit on top is crisp and contrasts perfectly with the soft fruit, while the dough that touched the fruit during the baking process had the texture of a steamed dumpling. It was pretty delicious! I loved the pluots in this but can't wait to try the same recipe with all the fresh peaches flying off the trees around here!
Check out the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see how the other bakers fared with this week's challenge!
Johnnycake Cobbler with Pluots
adapted from Baking with Julia
For the Fruit:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
6 cups sliced pluots
For the Biscuit Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4-1 cup buttermilk
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar, stirring to dissolve, then toss in the fruit. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and releases its juices. Increase the heat to high and cook for a few minutes more to boil down the juices, stirring occasionally. Spoon the fruit into a 1 1/2 quart baking pan and set aside while you make the topping.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center position.
Whisk together the four, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using your fingers, gently rub in the pieces of butter until the mixture feels like coarse meal. Make a well in the center and add in the heavy cream and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Using a fork, mix everything together, drawing the dry ingredients in from the sides, until a dough forms. If the mixture appears too dry, add in up to 1/4 cup additional buttermilk. The dough should be soft, moist, and form curds as you stir it.
Spoon the biscuit dough over the fruit. Place the cobbler on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the biscuit is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling. Serve with ice cream or additional heavy cream!