By Kelly Jaggers
Drop Biscuit Cobbler – Fresh Fruit with a Lightly Sweetened Buttermilk Drop Biscuit Topping. Time-Tested Family Recipe.
My friend Kelly Jaggers is back with another wonderful family recipe! Her nostalgic memories behind this recipe, beautifully expressed, make it taste even sweeter. ~ Tori
My mother would always let me tinker in the kitchen. As a child she got me my own plastic kitchen play set and put it in the kitchen with her. She would make dinner for our family, while I made ‘dinner’ for my army of dolls. Often she would let me help with the real cooking, letting me use the hand mixer to mix cookie dough or whip potatoes, and I loved it. The older I got, the more my mother would let me do, eventually letting me prepare entire meals by myself when she didn’t have time. The time we spent in the kitchen did more than just entertain me, it gave me a sense of confidence in the kitchen.
In high school I started collecting cookbooks of my own. Not knowing a lot about cooking, I looked for books with easy to follow recipes that were basically fool proof. I also rummaged through my mom’s recipe box, copying recipes that seemed easy and used ingredients I liked. One such recipe was for a biscuit cobbler made with canned pie filling and biscuit mix. One summer afternoon, when my mom was out running errands, I went into the kitchen and made the biscuit cobbler for her and my brother for an afternoon snack. It was really easy, and it made me feel very accomplished. Mom was tickled that I would make an afternoon snack for her, and ate a large bowl of the cobbler with gusto. Moments like this are why I love to bake so much today.
Eventually I made the decision to leave home and go to college. My mother held a crash course for me in the weeks leading up to the move where she taught me how to make family favorites such as chicken fried steak, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, all manner of vegetables, cornbread dressing, and her much loved apple pie. If I ever got homesick – and that happened quite often those first few weeks – I would just make an apple pie, fried chicken, or a biscuit cobbler and it would ease the ache in my heart.
As an adult I have taken a great interest in what is in my food. Ingredient lists matter to me, and I discovered that my favorite recipes – including my beloved cobbler – were loaded with things I would prefer not to consume. Rather than do without, I set out to revamp some of my tried and true recipes with ingredients I could feel good about. The biscuit cobbler was one of the first on that list. I replaced canned fruit filling with fresh fruit, and I replaced the commercial biscuit topping with scratch-made buttermilk drop biscuits sweetened with a little sugar and a hint of cinnamon. It took a while to get the ratios correct, but the result is a cobbler that has all the best qualities of the original – it is quick and easy to make – but it has all the benefits of being from scratch, meaning it tastes AMAZING!
For this cobbler, feel free to use whatever fruit is fresh and in season. Since peaches and blueberries were abundant in my local market, that is what I selected but you can also make this with apples, pears, mixed berries, strawberries, cherries, plums, nectarines, cranberries, or apricots. The sky is the limit. I do not add a lot of sugar to my biscuit topping, but if you like it sweeter add more sugar. I prefer to let the sweetness of the fruit shine, and the slightly more savory biscuits serve as a nice counterpoint. You can also add chopped nuts to this cobbler. I have been known to add pecans and almonds to the fruit filling when the mood strikes (obviously omit if nut allergic). You can even substitute frozen fruit, if the craving for peach cobbler strikes in the dead of winter, for example. You don’t even need the thaw the fruit first.
Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
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- 10 medium peaches peeled and sliced, about 5 cups
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tbsp butter cut into small pieces
Biscuit Topping Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar divided
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter cubed and chilled
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9X9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl combine the peaches, blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt.
- Toss gently to evenly coat the fruit.
- Pour the fruit into the baking dish. Dot the top of the fruit with 1 tbsp butter cut into small pieces and set aside. In a medium bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and cinnamon. Whisk the dry ingredients to evenly combine then add 6 tablespoons cubed butter. With your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand with no large chunks of butter remaining. Make a well into the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened, about 8-10 strokes.
- Scoop the biscuit batter into the cobbler in 12-16 even dollops. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the tops of the biscuits, then bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling all over.
- Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour before serving.