Don’t you love that first whiff of change in the air when a new season arrives? For me it’s just as thrilling when I make the first favorite recipe of the season — Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler is the very essence of spring. The minute I saw the crimson juices bubbling away in the skillet it all came flooding back to me, strawberry and rhubarb are phenomenal together. Not only do they create this glorious hybrid rosy pinky peach color, but the sweet of the strawberry tames the tang of the rhubarb and the two are better together than apart, like the best of marriages. So now begins a new phase in the cycle of seasonal eating. We’re passing out of the leanest period and approaching the most invigorating — edible flowers, baby veggies, little sprouts and shoots, new… tender… fresh… all those words we haven’t used in so long.
This cobbler is no more difficult or involved to make than a classic crumble or crisp, the only difference is that the topping is more of a dough, held together in this case with a little yogurt. The bubbly filling is tart and juicy, and the biscuit is light and fluffy. It looks more voluptuous and impressive than a crisp, and it is! Make it with any spring or summer fruit you want. I’ve been watching for rhubarb like a hawk and finally found it the other day.
This recipe is as old as it is delicious. Cobblers and their counterparts, Bettys, grumps, slumps, dumps, buckles, pandowdys, and sonkers are all traditional American recipes, some dating way back to the first settlers. They’re some of our most beloved desserts, and it’s clear why. The fruit cooks up into a rich syrupy base and the biscuit is fluffy and warm, and the ice cream, don’t forget the ice cream, melts in little rivulets throughout it all.
The biscuit topping on this cobbler is very easy to make, and it can be used to top all kinds of fruit. Don’t try to get it perfectly round or even, the dough is supposed to look a little ragged, and the reward for not working it too much is a tender, flaky texture.
- 1 lb rhubarb, rinsed and thinly sliced
- 1 lb ripe strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered or chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp flour (I love Wondra for this)
- 1 cup flour
- 4 Tbsp sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp cold butter, cut in pieces
- 1/3 cup yogurt
- bit of milk or cream if needed
- Set the oven to 425F
- Toss the fruit with the sugar and lemon juice and let sit for about half an hour. This will get the juices flowing.
- Stir in the flour and spread the fruit out into a 9" cast iron skillet or a square baking dish. Bake the fruit for 10-12 minutes. You should see a little bubbling beginning to happen.
- Meanwhile make the biscuit topping. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Pulse in the cold butter until the mixture is crumbly.
- Turn out into a bowl and stir in the yogurt, adding a little cream or milk if the mixture seems too dry. Mix just until the dough comes together loosely.
- Form into 6 equal mounds. Don't worry about getting the dough into smooth balls, it will be 'craggy' and lumpy. that's going to be the charm of your cobbler topping, and it means the biscuits will be light and fluffy. Sprinkle each mound of dough lightly with sugar.
- Place the six biscuits on top of the hot fruit, setting then apart so they don't touch.
- Bake for another 16-18 minutes until the dough is golden and cooked through. Cover with foil at the end if it is getting too brown.
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
What’s your favorite way to use strawberry and rhubarb?