Tuesdays With Dorie: Johnnycake Cobbler

It's summer and the living is easy. Or at least, it should be easy. But sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's hot, sticky, and out of control. Sometimes the traffic is never ending, the mosquitoes forever thirsty, and the air conditioner nonexistent. But then there's this cobbler. It's easy, but it's also hot, sticky, and out of control. The juices are plentiful, bubbling up the sides and over the rim. The biscuit is flaky, its uneven terrain perfect for catching pools of cold sweet cream.

This week, I happily made a blueberry, black plum, and nectarine cobbler. With a handful of chopped mint from the garden and the zest of a lemon, the fruit was perfection. Topped with mounds of un-fussy cream and cornmeal biscuit - a biscuit that does not require the delicate touch that so many others do - this dish is best eaten fresh from the oven. With a spoon. And no shame. Because let's be real, this is messy and these juices are going to go exactly where they shouldn't. Blueberry stained fingers (and shirts, anyone?), a full stomach, and a wild smile are guaranteed. Don't worry about it: it's summer, and please, let's all live a little easier.

Johnnycake Cobbler
Adapted from Baking With Julia, by Dorie Greenspan

For the fruit:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
6 cups sliced fruit (I used 2 cups blueberries, 2 cups nectarines, and 2 cups plums)
*Handful of chopped mint & zest of one lemon optional but delicious

For the biscuit topping:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (white or yellow)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

For the fruit:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the sliced fruit and stir until evenly coated. If using, add the mint and lemon zest with the fruit. Cook until the fruit has emitted a substantial amount of juice. The juices should boil for a few minutes until thick. Remove from heat.
*The fruit should be mostly cooked during this stage, since the cobbler takes about 15 - 20 minutes in the oven.

For the biscuit:
Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the chopped butter and pulse about 20 times until the butter is finely cut into the dry mixture. Transfer the flour/butter mixture to a large bowl and create a well in the middle. Pour the heavy cream into the well and mix together, pushing flour from the sides into the middle. The dough should be wet and mixed as little as possible. You may need to add as much as 1/4 cup more cream, although I found that 1 1/4 cups was perfect.
*This can be done by hand. Feel free to cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, or your hands, a perfectly acceptable method.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Split the fruit into 4 to 6 small oven proof ramekins, or pour the entity into one large deep dish (as I did). Top carelessly, or methodically, if so preferred, with biscuit dough. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes if using small dishes, or 15 - 18 if using a large dish. The topping should be golden brown and the juices bubbling.
*I  had to cook mine for an additional 5 minutes, and even then the biscuit, which was very thick, was a bit undone in certain areas. I would recommend leaving the cobbler in for a few extra minutes to get a deep golden brown color.

Serving suggestions:
Vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, whipped cream, fresh fruit (mo' fruit less problems).


  1. this is a good recipe and your version looks delish! I've made it several times since my original posting, and have even used buttermilk in place of some cream and it still comes out tasty.

  2. Looks lovely! Living easier sounds good to me...