This is a not a glamorous dessert or one meant to symbolise propriety. It is meant to be devoured alongside no less than four people, preferably right out of a seriously hot skillet, or messily scooped into little plates and served in juicy puddles, topped with cream and scraped clean.
This is the kind of rainy afternoon dessert that you will keep going back to. Juicy, sweet and sour plums, mixed up with peaches with cinnamon, all oozy and bubbly, topped with the most perfect biscuity cobbler that is taken up many notches with browned butter. Grab a spoon, folks. We’re going in.
Cobblers are the slightly more time-consuming siblings of crumbles or crisps. But, I found this particular cobbler more satisfying to make and eat than a simpler crumble. It’s sort of like a shortcrust pastry sitting on a ton of fruit. Like a deconstructed pie, without all the dramatic rolling. Like a classic sugar cookie that got taken to a whole other level. Basically, this is not a dessert you laugh at.
The fruit you use is entirely up to you. It can be all peaches, all plums, all apricots, all berries, pretty much anything. If you’re using plums, don’t be alarmed at the ton of juice they release while baking. All part of the fun. I added a couple of chopped peaches in there for variation and some additional sweetness. Plums tend to be sour, so definitely adjust the sugar according to your preferences. Sprinkling on caster sugar or icing sugar even after serving is always an option 🙂
And now, that cobbler topping. OMG. It is soft on one side, crusty on the other, soaking up all the juices and yet remaining crisp, and will remind you of the most perfect shortbread cookies you’ve ever eaten. I decided to brown the butter before adding it to the flour. This is not crucial, but does add more flavour so I do highly recommend it. The top of the cobbler is glazed with a little cream to help it turn a nice golden-brown. The whole thing goes so so so well with the fruit and really, if I could, I’d steal all the cobbler before anyone else got to it.
The fruit filling doesn’t really need a recipe and the cobbler topping is sort of adapted from The Kitchn, but changed around to fit the skillet and my own sugar preferences. Personally, I found this amount of sweetness just right because the tang of the plums shines through and we should enjoy all this fruit while we can 🙂
Honestly, the only time-consuming part here is pitting the plums. Ripe, but firm plums are best because they will get squishy while baking, but it does mean they’re harder to slice and pit. We’re not going for perfection though, so as long you get the stone out, you’re good!
The proportions in this recipe can easily be increased depending on how much cobbler you’d like to make. I used my 8″ cast-iron skillet, and you could also use a pie dish or any baking dish of a similar size. I left the gap in the middle for the fruit to peak through and because my cobbler mixture finished, but you could always make smaller cobbler ‘discs’ and fill up the space more. There are very few rules and that’s how dessert should be 🙂
- For the cobbler topping
- 100 gms butter (Just shy of ½ cup, salted is fine)
- 1 and ¼ cup regular/all-purpose flour
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp cream, for glazing optional
- For the fruit
- 8 to 10 ripe but firm plums
- 2 peaches
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 4 to 5 tbsps caster sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit
- Begin with the cobbler topping by browning the butter. In a medium saucepan set on low heat, melt the butter. It will begin to foam and turn a golden colour. After a few minutes, some lightly toasted bits will start to appear in the butter and it will smell nutty and pretty amazing. Watch the butter carefully and when this happens, turn the heat off. Allow it to cool. In the mean time, combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl and set aside.
- While the butter is melting, and then cooling, prepare the fruit. Peel and slice the peaches and add to a small bowl. Slice the plums all along the centre, twist gently and pull apart. With a sharp knife, cut the stone out. Add the plums to the bowl with the peaches and top with the cinnamon and sugar. Mix well and set aside to macerate.
- If using a cast-iron skillet, grease it very lightly. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Add the cooled, browned butter to the flour and sugar and slowly mix till you have a soft, crumbly dough. It should stick together when pinched between your fingers.
- Tip the fruit and all the juices into the baking dish and spread out evenly.
- Using your hands, make small discs out of the cobbler dough, any size you want, and just thick enough that they don't sink right in to the fruit. About ¼ inch thickness is fine. Place the discs on to the fruit, arranging them so they overlap a little to create the 'cobblestone' effect from where, I assume, the name 'cobbler' comes from!
- Mix the cream with a splash of water in a small bowl, and brush on to the cobbler for a nice sheen.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the fruit has cooked down, the juices are bubbling and the cobbler topping is golden-brown.
- Allow to cool till slightly warm (or risk burning your mouth!) and serve with vanilla ice cream or just plain cream. This cobbler tastes great even the next day, straight out of the fridge too!