Stone fruit and berries star in these stunning and deliciously healthy desserts.
Text: Julianna Grimes
June 25, 2010
1 of 8Photo: John Autry
Summer Fruit Cobblers
Seasonal fruits find sweet-tart perfection this time of year, and what better way to highlight their flavors than a cobbler? Of course, peaches, plums, and berries work in savory applications, but they seem tailor-made for these simple, down-home desserts—so simple, in fact, that all you need is a baking dish, some fruit, and a few ingredients to make a biscuit-style topping to get cooking. We went beyond the basics with these cobblers, then got creative with toppings. For example, Blueberry-Peach Cobbler is like a blueberry muffin canoodling with fresh peaches. You can even make them ahead. We're sure you'll love the results.
2 of 8Photo: John Autry
1. Pick or Buy Just-Ripe Fruit
Select fruit that ripened on the vine (or tree), but it shouldn't be overripe, especially in the case of stone fruit like peaches or plums. Fruit that's too soft won't hold up to the heat while the topping fully cooks.
3 of 8Photo: John Autry
2. Make the Filling
The fruit filling can be as simple as you like, or get creative. Combine two or more fruits, and add interesting flavors like grated fresh ginger, ground spices, or grated citrus rind. Toss it all together, and place in a ceramic or glass baking dish.
4 of 8Photo: John Autry
3. Prepare the Topping
There are many interpretations of toppings, ranging from tender biscuit-style to pastry dough, and you can customize them to your tastes. Then sprinkle (or pour) the topping over the top of the fruit mixture.
5 of 8Photo: John Autry
4. Bake Until Bubbly and Browned
The key to success is timing: Bake the fruit until it's tender but not mushy, and the topping needs to cook fully. The best visual cues for doneness are browned topping and pockets of fruit bubbling up to the top.
6 of 8Photo: John Autry
Lattice-Topped Blackberry Cobbler
The level of natural sugar in most fruits is set when harvested, so sample the fruit before making your cobbler. If the fruit is underripe and tastes tart, you can add an extra couple tablespoons of sugar to the fruit filling. Using whole almonds in this topping gives it a little color from the skins, but substituting sliced or slivered almonds will work in this recipe, as well.
Serving Suggestion: Although the cobbler is tasty on its own, if you want to serve it with low-fat ice cream, reduce the serving size to about ½ cup.
7 of 8Photo: John Autry
Some folks like the homey appeal of one large cobbler baked in a glass or ceramic casserole dish. Baking in individual-sized dishes is another option that makes a statement at the table. Any of our recipes can be baked in ramekins or other earthenware, but if you opt for that route, they won't need to bake as long. For example, these individual Plum Cobblers only bake 35 minutes.
8 of 8Photo: John Autry
Be sure to use peaches that aren't superripe for this Blueberry-Peach Cobbler recipe so they'll hold their shape when cooked.
Test Kitchen Tip: Add a dash of salt to baked goods and other sweets—it intensifies the sweetness and rounds out the dish's flavor.