Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TWD: Baking with Julia - Johnnycake Cobbler

We had a choice as to what to make this week for our Tuesday's with Dorie challenge- Johnnycake Cobblers or Raspberry-Fig Crostata.  Since I knew I would be traveling right up to the post date for this recipe, I decided to make what appeared to be the simpler recipe, the 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!

Anyway, the first thing you do is slice a BUNCH of fruit (6 cups worth) and gently cook it in some melted butter and sugar.  The fruit softens and releases some yummy juices, which become the syrup for the filling.  Put the fruit into individual bowls or one big pan, like I did.  The recipe actually says that if you put it in a big pan, to use a 10-inch deep dish pie pan that fits 1 1/2 quarts.  I used an 8x8-inch baking dish (which is actually 2 quarts) and it fit perfectly. 

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. 

Take it out of the oven when the tops are golden, 12-14 minutes for individual cobblers, 14-16 minutes for one big one.  I actually baked mine a bit longer.  This photo was taken after 15 minutes of baking and when I scooped out the first serving, the biscuit part was a bit too doughy in the middle.  So if I made this again in one big pan (which is how I would do it for sure!) I would bake it for maybe 18 -20 minutes, and keep an eye on those last few minutes!

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!

Johnnycake Cobblers
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.
Printable Recipe

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!


  1. I made the crostata instead but am interested in seeing how the cobblers turned out as well. Thanks for the little pointers!

    1. No problem! I look forward to trying the crostata!

  2. You make this sound so delicious! I made single servings and the dough was gooey in the middle as well. Your peach ice cream looks fabulous too!

    1. Aha! It must be a recipe error then, that timing thing. Something to keep in mind when I make it again! You should try that ice cream - it is great!

  3. Beautifully done! Mine could have used some extra baking time, too.

  4. This was so good, wasn't it? A perfect use for summer stone fruit. (I ended up baking ours for extra time too)

    1. Perfect. And so yummy! THough it seems like the extra time was universal!

  5. It was really fruitylishious!
    May I ask? The cornmeal we had to use was ist the finest one or the grainy one?
    I always have problems when a recipe says cornmeal as there are many types... and I live in Switzerland :-) How do we know?
    Well, I used the finest one for mine...Hope I picked out the right one ...

    1. I used the more grainy cornmeal, though I seriously doubt it matters. I hope the finer cornmeal works for you! This was a tasty treat!

  6. Nothing like a good farmer's market! I love going to pick up all my veggies there.
    Great pics. Your cobbler looks so good. I found the middle of mine kind of doughy too.

  7. Looks delicious! I didn't make the cobbler but I will have to put it on my list to make as everyone enjoyed it so much. Thanks for the tip on the extra baking time!

  8. Your big cobbler looks great and your fruit looks beautiful! I love the shot of the bowl with the fruit and the topping =)

  9. You made the cornmeal topping sound so delicious, I will have to make the cobbler for sure (though the crostata was pretty fabulous).

  10. Great job. Love your colorful photos. We had to make our version without cornmeal, due to allergies. Does it still count as a Johnny Cake Cobbler?

  11. Just a note...if you don't have kosher salt, you would not want to use an equal amount of fine salt. I only buy regular table salt, and when a recipe calls for kosher I cut the amount in half. Kosher has much larger crystals, so an equal amount of fine salt would be too salty.


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