Cobbler may be the best reason to turn on the stove in the summer. Jammy fruit, crisp and buttery topping — all you need is a scoop of ice cream.
This particular cobbler might just be the easiest I've ever made. It's the kind of recipe you make once and then remember forever. You can make it with a spatula or a soup spoon, in a New York apartment or at your vacation beach house, with peaches or with any other fruit you want to turn into dessert.
A Southern-Style Cobbler
I was first introduced to this cobbler by Elizabeth Passarella, one of our very first Kitchn writers and a true Southern lady if I ever met one. Here's what she has to say about this cobbler:
I learned this cobbler from my Mississippi grandmother, and to this day, I've never seen an actual recipe written down. The method for the topping goes like this: Combine equal parts flour and sugar, and add enough melted butter to make a dough.
I've made it with apples and pears in the winter, and peaches and blackberries in the summer. I've made it in giant casserole pans and individual ramekins. It's impossible to screw up. If your fruit is ripe, you can't go wrong. - Elizabeth, October 2011
This makes a very sweet cobbler with a topping somewhere between a sugar cookie and pie crust. Let me repeat that: a topping that is equal parts cookie and pie crust. If you aren't already pulling out the ingredients as you read this, I'd wonder what was wrong with you!
Guesstimating the Fruit Filling
The fruit filling for this cobbler is a true choose-your-own adventure. As Elizabeth said, you can use any summer fruit you like — or any combination! Use enough to fill your baking pan between halfway and three-quarters full. This is generally four to seven cups of sliced fruit.
If your fruit is a bit tart, stir in some sugar (I like brown sugar, personally!). On the flip side, if your fruit is very sweet, you might want to add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to balance it out. Also, if your fruit is very juicy and you'd like a filling that is a little more set, like a pie, then stir in a tablespoon or two of cornstarch.
A dash of spice never hurt a cobbler, either. Cinnamon and nutmeg go well with just about any fruit; add a dash or two if you like.
Making the Topping
This topping truly is as easy as one-two-three, or maybe even just one-two. Mix the flour, sugar, and melted butter until they form a dough. It will be quite sandy and will tend to crumble, but you should be able to form it into patties. If not, add a little more flour.
This recipe makes enough for a 9x9-inch pan, an 8x8-inch pan, or a 9-inch pie pan — whatever dish is handy will work. If you have any topping leftover, scatter the crumbs over the top of the cobbler. They'll bake into extra-crispy bites.
The Finished Cobbler
As it bakes, the top of the cobbler becomes golden and cookie-like, while the undersides of the "cobbles" absorb the fruit juices. I absolutely love this blend of crunchy and soft.
Cobblers are also meant to be looser and more juicy than pie, so don't worry if yours ends up seeming soupy. Just scoop up the fruit with a slotted spoon and drizzle the syrup over top.
While you can serve this cobbler hot from the oven or after its cooled on the counter for a few hours, I actually think it's at its finest the next day — especially if you're on vacation and can justify having it for breakfast. Why not?
What are your favorite cobbler variations?
Preheat the oven to 350°F while you prepare the cobbler. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.
How To Make Easy, Foolproof Cobbler with Any Fruit
Makes 6 to 8 servings
What You Need
For the fruit filling:
4 to 7 cups sliced fruit
1/2 to 1 cup sugar or brown sugar, optional
1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, optional
1 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch, optional
1 to 2 teaspoons spice, like cinnamon, optional
For the cobbler topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and no longer piping hot
8x8-inch baking pan, 9x9-inch baking pan, or 9-inch pie pan
Measuring spoons and cups
Baking sheet or aluminum foil, to catch drips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a rack in the middle of the oven.
Prepare the fruit: Prepare the fruit as necessary — wash, peel, stem, seed, slice, and so on. Give it a taste and mix in some sugar or lemon juice as needed. If your fruit is juicy or you'd like a more firmly set cobbler, mix in some cornstarch. Mix in spices, if desired.
Transfer the fruit to the baking dish: The fruit should fill the dish halfway to three-quarters full, leaving a good inch or so of extra space for the cobbler topping.
- Mix the flour, sugar, and salt for the cobbler topping in a bowl.
Mix the melted butter into the flour and sugar. Warm butter is fine, but if it's still piping hot from being melted, let it stand for a few minutes before mixing.
Mix to form a crumbly dough: The cobbler topping will be quite sandy and crumbly, but should hold together when you pinch it. If not, add a little more flour.
Pat handfuls of dough into thick palm-sized disks. The disks should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick — no need to be super exact, though!
Lay the disks over the fruit filling: Overlap the disks to make a "cobblestone" look. If you have any extra topping, crumble it and sprinkle it over the surface of the cobbler.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes: Place the cobbler on a baking sheet to catch drips, or place aluminum foil beneath it in the oven. Bake the cobbler until the topping is turning golden around the edges and the fruit filling is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes.
Cool and serve: Let the cobbler cool for at least a few minutes so it doesn't burn your mouth! The cobbler can also be served room temperature, or the next day. Cover and refrigerate the pan with any leftovers.
- Leftover cobbler topping can also be used to make smaller, individual cobblers in ramekins, or you can refrigerate it for a few days or freeze it for up to 3 months.
This recipe and post have been updated — first published by Elizabeth Passarella October 2011.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)