I’m a bad blogger. I haven’t posted in a month though you were far too polite to say anything. But there it is … Betty’s Pies was July 15th. Egad, time sure flies. To say I’ve been crazy busy, while true, is weak. Coupled with my wackadoo work schedule is the fact that’s it’s been hotter than blazes around here – screaming hot with 527% humidity. I take 3 showers a day and sit, in a stupid daze, in front of the fan to keep cool. The thought of turning on the oven makes me physically ill. My face just might melt off.
But I did turn my oven on. For you, dear people. You see, I’ve been particularly lame about exploring the world of cobbler, as promised. Willie be damned, after that experience I was full of enthusiasm and excitement and made my grand proclamation to figure it all out. My vim and vigor petered out after one trial. It was high time I got back on this horse.
The opportunity came recently with some peaches. I came home from one of my jobs with a large container of sliced peaches and blackberries leftover from a party we catered that evening. Never one to just thrown such wonderfulness away, I tucked it into my bag and headed out full of purpose. It was destined for my cobbler research.
I’d already knocked off rolled biscuits with a sour cherry cobbler so I decided to give drop biscuits a whirl. Cornmeal intrigued me … a little crunch, a little texture, good earthy flavor … so I sought out recipes that contained this lovely ingredient. I compared a few and took what I liked best though I have to say, they were all rather similar. I mixed a little cornstarch, brown sugar and a shot of bourbon into the fruit and tumbled it into a buttered casserole dish. Booze! I worked some Three Sisters Garden fancy pants white cornmeal into the biscuit batter. ( I LOVE this stuff – makes the best grits.) Luckily there was a enough buttermilk hidden in the back of my fridge because a midnight run to the store was not in the cards. The batter was dropped (or more accurately plopped) onto the fruit in fat spoonfuls and the whole thing was in the oven within minutes. Could not have been easier especially if you can get someone else to prep the fruit for you.
Half hour later, a heavenly purpley orange crusty beauty was sitting on my counter and I went to bed. Let me tell you what a treat it is to awake to the lingering smells of baked fruit and biscuits. By now the kitchen heat has dissipated somewhat, the cobbler had cooled and I had a kick ass breakfast waiting for me. This overnight baking thing needs to be explored further.
Because I can never leave well enough alone and found a quart of cream in my fridge while digging around for that buttermilk, I decided to whip up something fancy to go alongside. Have you ever had a fruit whipped cream? Well, you should because it’s fantastic. Super easy too – just puree some berries and sugar, strain out the seeds and fold into whipped cream. The result is a beautiful purple fruity cream that is quite stunning next to the cobbler.
Overall, success – I really liked this one. The cornmeal gave the topping a wonderful crunch and earthy flavor that was lacking in my other biscuit topped cobbler. The fruit was wonderful, of course, with peaches and bourbon such a wonderful combination. Now that I’ve got the biscuit type cobblers covered … batters and crusty types are up next.
Is this my favorite cobbler? It’s definitely in the running though with a list of only 2 completed it’s ridiculous to call it this early. I have at least 6 more to bake and eat first. I have a feeling I’ll like them all though. Just fair warning.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: WONDERFUL! This is a good one because it has a cozy hominess about it along with great flavor but the truly great thing is that it comes together so quickly and so easily. If you find yourself with an excess of fruit (and who doesn’t at this time of year?) this is the one. Definitely make the whipped cream as it really jazzes the whole thing up too and is so dang pretty. As a bonus factor, I brought it into my temporary office gig and they scraped the dish clean. They may have licked it but I can’t know for sure. Stress baking is all about bake and release too, you know, so now’s a really good time to take that on. This was just good all around.
For the fruit:
1 ½ pounds peaches, pitted and cut into thin slices
1 pint blackberries
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons bourbon
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the biscuit topping:
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal (stone ground if you can)
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
½ cup buttermilk
for the blackberry whipped cream
1 pint blackberries, rinsed
¾ cup sugar
1 ¾ cups chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425°F and place a rack in the lowest position.
- Generously butter a 9”x13” baking dish (or similar size) and place on top of a Silpat mat or parchment paper lined sheet pan. Set aside until needed.
- For the fruit: a large bowl, combine the peaches, brown sugar, cornstarch, bourbon, cinnamon and salt until well combined.
- Gently fold in the blackberries then turn out into the prepared baking dish.
- For the biscuits: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.
- Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients, using your fingertips, until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.
- Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Stir until combined and the dough is rather wet and sticky and no dry bits remain.
- Top the fruit with spoonfuls of the biscuit batter, spacing as evenly as you can. No need to cover the entire surface.
- Sprinkle a Tablespoon or two of sugar over the biscuits.
- Bake: about 20-25 minutes until the mixture bubbles, the biscuits are browned on top and baked fully underneath.
- For blackberry whipped cream: In a food processor, pulse the berries and sugar until smooth.
- Press the puree through a strainer to remove the seeds and extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the seedy bits left in the strainer.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peak.
- Fold in the vanilla and blackberry puree until incorporated.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with blackberry whipped cream.