I swear… as soon as we wind our clocks forward and tack that extra hour of daylight to our evenings, I’m sure it’s summer. I’m sure it’s time for a new pair of (now age appropriate) jean shorts, time for pink wine and pink sunsets, time for me to start chasing the sound of summer waves crashing on summer beaches.
Time, really… for me to hold my horses.
Because spring. Because there’s this easing into summer that usually involves lots of spring rain and surprisingly crisp days and just blooming flowers. In these gloriously crisp and blooming days we get welcome early strawberries and right-on-time rhubarb. It’s only natural that we combine the two in some sort of pie iteration. Today: cobbler with cornmeal biscuits and soft honey cream.
We’ve done spring time biscuit things before. See: Lavender Blackberry Scones.
Mish mash. Splish splash. Humble crumble. Strawberry rhubard. Honeyed cream supreme.
Here’s what you’ll need. It’s simple really:
- Flour and cornmeal. Buttermilk and butter. Sugar and salt and leavening. For biscuits.
- Strawberry and rhubarb. Orange and fresh nutmeg. Sugar and cornstarch. For fruit filling.
I start by mixing the sliced fresh strawberries with the sliced fresh rhubarb. Sneak a few bites of the raw rhubarb in your mouth just to appreciate how tart it is. Very tart. Just one of those things to let you know what the world tastes like before we sweeten it with sugar and bake it up.
To the fruit and barb we’ll add granulated sugar, cornstarch to thicken the juices, orange zest, orange juice (just a good squeeze), and freshly grated nutmeg for a grounding spice.
The mixture is tossed until each bit of fruit is coated in sugar, cornstarch, orange and nutmeg. The sugar and cornstarch will disappear into the fruit. In a 9-inch baking pan the mixture will begin to seep juices. That’s good news all the way.
While the fruit macerates, we’ll make the cornmeal biscuits.
We’ve been down this biscuit road before. This go-round we’re adding cornmeal for that bit of texture that makes your mouth-brain say heeey!
We’ve also got the usual suspects: all-purpose flour, a good sprinkle of sugar and salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Shaped and round-cut.
You may need to reroll the scraps to get 9 biscuits. One reroll is totally called for.
The biscuits are brushed with melted butter and sprinkled and sugar (for extra credit).
This cobbler gets two bakes.
The first bake softens the strawberries and rhubarb. The second bake fluffs and browns the biscuits and makes the bake extra juicy.
With honeyed cream, aggressively honeyed cream, this bake is irresistible. I like mine smushed and mushed to an almost unrecognizable biscuit, fruit and cream mixture.
Photos with Jon Melendez!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to roll out doughq
- 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, cold and cut up into small chunks
- 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
- 4 cups 1-inch rhubarb chunks
- 3 cups strawberry chunks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon orange zest and squeeze of orange juice
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons honey
- splash of vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- To make the biscuits, in a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add 7 tablespoons of the cold butter chunks to the dry ingredients and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour mixture. Work the butter into the mixture until some butter is the size of oat flakes, some the size of small peas, and all of the dry ingredients are lightly coated in fat.
- Create a small well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk. Use a fork to fluff the mixture together, being sure to moisten every bit with buttermilk. Add a tablespoon or two more if your mixture is feeling too dry.
- Stir the mixture into a shaggy dough then dump onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Gently work the dough into a 2-inch thick disk.
- Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough to a 1-inch thickness. Use a 2 ½ inch round biscuit cutter to cut biscuit rounds, gathering and rerolling the scraps to cut 9 biscuits. Set aside.
- In a 9-inch square pan, toss together rhubarb and strawberry pieces, sugar, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, orange zest and orange juice. Toss until everything is evenly coated.
- Bake fruit mixture for 20 minutes, until just beginning to bubble.
- Remove from the oven and place the biscuits on top of the warmed fruit. Brush the top of the biscuits with the remaining tablespoon of butter that has been melted.
- Return the biscuits and fruit to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the fruit has broken down and bubbled, and the biscuits are risen and golden.
- While the biscuits bake, combine cream, honey, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer until the cream reaches soft peaks.
- Remove the cobbler from the oven, allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving so it’s just warm when dishing into bowls. Serve with honeyed cream and enjoy!