Still looking for something to make for Dad? I suggest cobbler. This is a good one. It comes from Cook’s Illustrated, who, true to form, analyzed to the core where cobbler can go wrong — who knew it was so troubled? — and found solutions to the issues: dry biscuits! gloppy filling! runny filling! oversweet filling!
I don’t think I’ve actually ever disliked a cobbler I’ve eaten, but what I love about the CI method is this: the blueberries bake without a biscuit topping for 25 minutes or until they begin to bubble around the edges. At this point, you drop the buttermilk biscuits over the berries, then continue to cook the cobbler for 15 to 20 minutes more at a higher temperature.
The idea is that the blast of heat from the bubbling berries helps cook the underside of the biscuits, while the hotter temperature of the oven nicely browns the top. The result? An evenly cooked — not dry! — tender, golden biscuit.
It makes sense: when you make biscuits as biscuits, they never take more than 15 to 20 minutes. So baking biscuits for close to an hour, as many cobbler recipes suggest (oops), may lead to a dry topping.
Vanilla ice cream is a must. Have a wonderful weekend, Everyone.
PS: A few more ideas for Father’s Day here.
A few notes: I made this twice in a 9×13-inch pan, and I didn’t think there was enough topping. 6 cups of blueberries, however, definitely is enough for a 9×13-inch pan, so if you like that vessel, I suggest doubling the topping recipe (without doubling the quantities of baking powder and baking soda). I happen to have a deep 9-inch pie plate, but otherwise, I think 6 cups of blueberries would have been too much for my other, more shallow pie plates. (Doubling the topping for a 9-inch pie plate, by the way, is not a good idea…tried that.)
I also made a few other small changes: I omitted cinnamon from both the filling and the topping. I omitted the 2 tablespoons of cornmeal, which I liked initially, but prefer without — I just prefer the flavor of a pure buttermilk biscuit without a hint of cornbread. The original recipe also calls for melting the butter, but I find using cool butter actually easier than melting butter. But by all means, melt the butter. Finally, I used turbinado sugar for sprinkling and brushed the biscuits with milk before sprinkling with sugar — it’s just what I’ve always done with this recipe. If you want to follow Cook’s Illustrated recipe exactly, follow this recipe.
for the filling:
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Pinch salt
- 6 cups (30 ounces) fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over
- zest of one lemon
- juice from half a lemon
for the biscuit topping:
- 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, fridge temperature
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons milk for brushing
- 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar (or not) for sprinkling
- vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- For the filling: Stir the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the berries and mix gently with a rubber spatula until evenly coated; add the lemon zest and juice and mix to combine. Transfer the berry mixture to a 9-inch glass (or not) pie plate or 9×13-inch vessel (see notes above), place pan on a rimmed baking sheet (not necessary if using 9×13-inch pan), and bake until the filling is hot and bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and use your fingers to incorporate the butter into the mixture — it’s ok if the butter gets soft.
- Five minutes (longer is fine) before the berries come out of the oven, add the buttermilk and vanilla to flour mixture and mix to combine. Pat mixture into ball or rectangle and roughly divide into 7 or 8 pieces.
- To assemble and bake the cobbler: Remove the berries from the oven; increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Drop the pieces of biscuit dough on the hot berry filling, spacing them about a 1/2 inch apart. Brush biscuits with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool the cobbler on a wire rack 20 minutes (or less) and serve.