Tuesday, August 20, 2013
TWD: Baking with Julia - Johnnycake Cobbler
You may wonder what make this cobbler a "johnnycake" cobbler. The answer is cornmeal. Basically, a johnnycake is a flatbread made with cornmeal, so a johnnycake cobbler is a cobbler made with cornmeal!
This cobbler used nectarines and plums. You could use any fruits here, in my opinion. I went ahead and did what the recipe suggested since I found some fresh nectarines at the farmers market, and the plums in the grocery store actually looked good! It was meant to be. I happened to be visiting my parents when I made this recipe, and they have the greatest farmers market near their home! My mom gets almost all of her fruit and veggies there. Not only is it a really great farmers market, but it is a lot of fun. It seems like every time I go there is some sort of live band playing, and people are dancing, kids are playing with hula hoops, it is just a really fun time. What a great component to their neighborhood!
Then you create the cobbler part, which the recipe says to make in a food processor but I did with a hand pastry blender. Plop the cobbler part on top of the fruit and bake.
This recipe can be found on pages 389-390 of Baking with Julia. And, since we don't have hosts in this group anymore, I'll post it for you here!
adapted from Baking with Julia
3 TB unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
6 cups sliced nectarines and purple plums (9-12 pieces of fruit)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups stone ground cornmeal
3 TB sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon minced ginger (optional)
1/2 stick (2 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Heavy cream or ice cream, for serving (optional)
For the fruit - melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then add the fruit. Stir the fruit to coat each piece and then cook, stirring periodically, until the fruit is soft and gives up some of its juice. Spoon the fruit into 4-6 individual souffle molds, ramekins, or oven-proof bowls (each should hold 6-8 oz.) and set aside while you make the biscuit. Or, spoon the fruit into a 10-inch deep dish pie pan (capacity 1 1/2 quarts) or any other similar-sized pan.
For the biscuit - move an oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 425F. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5-6 times, just to mix the ingredients. Or, put the ingredients in a bowl and stir with a whisk or fork.
Add the pieces of cold butter and toss them in the flour with your fingers, so that they are coated with flour. Pulse the food processor 18-20 times, until there are no lumps and the mixture resembles coarse meal. Or, use a hand pastry blender and go to work!
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl (unless you are already using that bowl with the hand pastry blender, then just keep the mixture in the bowl). Make a well in the center of the ingredients and pour in 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream. Stir with a fork to draw in the dry ingredients from the sides of the bowl and form a dough. If the mixture is too dry, add more heavy cream. You want a soft, moist dough that forms curds as you stir it.
Spoon the dough on top of the fruit, dividing it evenly among the individual bowls or placing it all on top of the large cobbler pan. Place the individual cobblers on a foil or parchment lined jelly-roll pan and bake for 12-14 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. If using one big pan, just stick the pan in the oven, no additional pan is necessary, and bake for 14-16 minutes. Transfer the cobbler/s to a rack and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. These are best served warm. If you make them in advance, keep them at room temperature.
If you serve the cobblers with heavy cream, encourage guests to crack the tops and create a little opening for the cream to be poured in. Or scoop ice cream right on top of the cobbler.
I enjoyed this cobbler. I really like the addition of cornmeal to the biscuit. It made the biscuit have a nice little crunch, while the biscuit itself was very light and tasty. The recipe is so easy you could truly adapt it to any fruit that happens to be in season at the time. Go for it! Oh, and in case you are wondering, I do intend to make that Raspberry-Fig Crostata. That will definitely appear in another blog post!