Life is Sweet: Simple goodness: Red Berry Biscuit Cobbler
special to the daily
Versatile – that’s what cobblers are. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, feature almost any kind of fruit you can imagine, and can be topped in a multitude of ways. They’re as comfortable at a dinner party as they are at the kitchen table. And, best of all, however you make them and wherever you serve them, their simple goodness always seems to satisfy.
This Red Berry Biscuit Cobbler is a good example: It crowns a mixture of sweetened raspberries and strawberries with a light, tender biscuit. The play between the raspberries and strawberries is a good one, and the soft topping has both visual and textural appeal. The combination is baked in small ramekins, allowing for individual servings that look pretty when presented.
The cobbler should be eaten when it’s warm, but you can make it several hours ahead and reheat it just before serving. Though fine on its own, ice cream is an obvious accompaniment; its creaminess is a perfect complement to the warm fruit and biscuits.
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Make in 4 one-cup capacity ramekins
1 (one) tablespoon of cornstarch (double this if using frozen berries; they exude more liquid)
A generous 1/3 (one third) cup of granulated sugar
2 (two) cups of fresh or frozen raspberries
1-1/2 (one and a half) cups of fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered, if large
1 (one) tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
2 (two) teaspoons of creme de cassis or raspberry liqueur, (optional)
1/3 (one third) cup of granulated sugar
1-1/2 (one and a half) cups of all-purpose flour (gently spoon into cup, level top)
1-1/4 (one and a fourth) teaspoons of baking soda
Slightly less than 1/4 (one fourth) teaspoon of salt
1/3 (one third) cup of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 (one third) cup of milk
Step One: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Grease the ramekins, preferably with butter, and set them aside.
Step Two: Prepare the filling: Combine the cornstarch and sugar in a bowl and stir to mix well. Add the raspberries and cut-up strawberries and toss so all of the berries are coated with the cornstarch-sugar mixture and none of the mixture is left at the bottom of the bowl. Add the lemon juice and creme de cassis (if using) and toss again to distribute the liquids over the berries. Divide the filling evenly between the four ramekins and set them aside.
Step Three: Make the topping: Add the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the cut-up butter and, using a pastry blender, forks, or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until they become crumbly, with some chunks of butter showing. (The topping can be made in a food processor to this point.) Add the milk and gently stir or work with your fingers only until a shaggy, loose dough is formed. Don’t overwork the dough or the topping will be tough.
Step Four: Using your hands or a spoon, place loosely formed balls of dough, about three-fourths of an inch in diameter, close together on top of the filling in each ramekin. The balls can be irregularly shaped. Don’t compress the dough when forming the balls. You may have some dough left over; make biscuits out of it or freeze it.
Step Five: Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. This takes about 24-30 minutes in my oven. If the topping browns before the filling starts to bubble, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the cobblers to prevent the biscuit from coloring further while the filling finishes baking. Remove the cobblers from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving them. If made ahead, cool the cobblers completely and reheat them in a 325 degree oven before serving.
This is a variation of a recipe from King Arthur Flour.
Vera Dawson, a chef instructor with CMC’s Culinary Institute, lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at email@example.com.
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