Cobbler is one of those scrappy recipes beloved for its ability to transform fresh fruit and pantry staples into a well-loved dessert, while simultaneously being un-screw-up-able. Although, like many casual desserts, cobbler can be mastered or ruined by just a few key choices. Today, we're going to tackle the six most common things you shouldn't do so your cobbler turns out beautifully every time.
1. Topping cobbler with pie crust.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but fruit topped with pastry crust is actually a pandowdy. Cobblers should be topped with a slightly sweet biscuit-like topping, although some regional variations include more cake-like toppings. Pie crust is fine when you're making pie, but it's decidedly not for cobbler making.
Try this: Our favorite cobbler topping is a sweetened cream biscuit that mixes up incredibly quickly and requires just a few ingredients. You can scoop it right onto the fruit filling.
2. Using any type of fruit.
To be clear, you can use any fruit for making cobbler, but using canned fruit or, worse, canned pie filling can result in a sickly sweet cobbler with a gummy filling.
Try this: Fresh fruit is grand, but frozen fruit works too. Just be sure to thaw the fruit completely first. Another tip: Cut all fruit into bite-sized pieces for easier scooping and eating.
3. Not coating the fruit in some starch.
We love cobblers for being juicy, but really ripe fruit can make more puddles than a spring rain. The result is a soupy cobbler with a soggy top.
Try this: Add one to two tablespoons of cornstarch to the filling. Partnered with a little sugar and lemon juice, this will make a lush sauce for the fruit. When baking, be sure the filling is bubbling-hot to ensure the cornstarch is cooked enough to thicken.
4. Overcrowding the topping.
Completely covering the fruit filling with the cobbler topping will steam both the fruit and the bottom of the topping, making for a wet finished cobbler in the most unappealing way.
Try this: Scoop the cobbler topping onto the fruit, leaving space between each portion of topping. This will allow steam to escape the filling and create more of those crags of caramelized fruit that we all love.
5. Not cooking it long enough.
Baking cobbler has a distinct challenge: You can't see the bottom of the biscuits and the filling won't completely thicken until it cools, so how do you know when it's done?
Try this: Because the cobbler topping is a variation on a quick bread, we can take its temperature to ensure doneness. A probe thermometer inserted in the center of the cobbler should reach 200°F in the thickest part of the topping. The filling should be bubbly around the sides, and the tops of the biscuits should be more deep amber than golden.
6. Not serving with whipped cream or ice cream.
This is more a personal commandment, but cobbler is made more perfect when it's served warm with the cool and creamy contrast of whipped cream or ice cream.