When my son was heading back to college after winter break I asked him what he’d like for his last homemade dessert before our long drive. He opened up Pastry Love by Joanne Change and pointed to her cobbler. The perfect choice. Perhaps nothing says comfort food as well and succinctly as a blueberry cobbler. Bubbling sweet fruit covered with tender, flaky biscuits is exactly the image I hope he recalls of being home for the holidays. Joanne is a phenomenal pastry chef and owns, Flour, one of my all-time favorite bakeries in Boston, so I knew her recipe would satisfy this lofty request from my son. It did not disappoint and I have a feeling this will be an often requested treat in my house. Her book is filled with so many fantastic recipes from this quintessential comfort food to more refined pastries. A pastry book for every home!
You can watch me make the biscuits and assemble the blueberry cobbler in my Instagram video and Joanne generously gave me permission to share the recipe with you below:
from Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes by Joanne Change
2 1/2 cups (350g) all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons (75g) sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (make your own)
8 cups (1000g) fresh blueberries (I was tasked with baking a summer berry dessert in January, so I used frozen wild blueberries and the results were fantastic)
3 cups (680g) thinly sliced peaches (I replaced the peaches with more berries since again, it is January and perfectly ripe peaches are just a dream, but I will make this again with the peaches this summer!)
3/4 cup (175g) sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch (this is 2 teaspoons less than Joanne’s recipe calls for because the frozen berries just weren’t that juicy)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg for egg wash
2 tablespoons decorators sugar (this is the stuff you’d use for sugar cookies. It doesn’t melt in the heat of the oven so it’s a pretty finish to the cobbler)
8 ounces Creme Fraiche for serving
To make the biscuits: (Joanne makes her biscuits in a stand mixer, which is fast and brilliant. I diverted and made mine by hand because I found myself with a dishwasher full of all the mixer’s bowls. Either way works wonderfully!)
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and cut it into the flour, using a pastry cutter or your hands until you have pieces that are about the size of a large pea. You can watch me do this in my Instagram video.
- Whisk together the egg, yolk, heavy cream, milk, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the liquid over the flour/butter mixture and gently stir together with a spoon or rubber spatula. Don’t stir too much, there will be lots of loose flour. Use a rubber spatula or your hands, gently fold the dough over itself several times, which will work in the flour and create a more cohesive dough. Stop just when the flour is mostly incorporated. See my Instagram video if it is unclear when to stop.
- Lightly flour the work surface and dump out the biscuits. Press them into a circle about 3/4-inch-thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to punch out the biscuits. If the cutter gets gloppy with dough, wash it clean, dry and dip it in flour.
- Refrigerate the biscuits until ready to bake. They can be made hours before baking.
To make the filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a saucepan, cook 1/2 the berries, sugar, lemon zest, salt, and cornstarch until the juices are thickened and transparent. If you are starting with frozen fruit, cook them without the cornstarch until they release their juice, then you can add the cornstarch and thicken.
- Stir in the remaining berries. Pour the berries into a 13 x 9-inch pan. I used a Copper Round Pan by Mauviel, which was a bit smaller, so I had a bit of filling and biscuits leftover which I baked in ramekins as individual servings.
- Place the biscuits over the berries. Whisk the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush it over the biscuits. Sprinkle with the decorating sugar.
- Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown and set. The fruit will be bubbly and may try to escape the pan.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes then serve warm or at room temperature.
I served it with Creme Fraiche by Vermont Creamery that I whipped for a minute until it was thickened.
Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Joanne Chang for sending me Pastry Love!