plum and cream scone cobbler

Were you new to cooking or eating and came to Smitten Kitchen for a reasonable understanding of what a cobbler is and is not, well, you would find neither reason nor understanding — about cobblers or, let’s be realistic, many other things. There were, before today, four cobbler recipes in the archives and all of them represent different interpretations of what Wikipedia calls “a dessert consisting of a fruit filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or dumpling before being baked.” Is this a good time to mention that Smitten Kitchen Keepers, which will be out in a mere but-who’s-counting 129 days, has two additional cobbler recipes in it, one I make for breakfast and a savory one for an incredible summer dinner?

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So why Cobbler No. 7? Because for the last three summers, this has been my dessert cobbler go-to, simple to make and with leftovers that hold up perfectly for days in the fridge. It’s easy to jump in: We’re not peeling fruit, nor are we expected to guess what the fruit will weigh once we pit it, as if anyone is able to calculate it in their head on a screaming hot day at an open-air market. It doesn’t take long to assemble; there are no rolling pins or cookie cutters. The topping is my favorite cream scone with the sugar and butter bumped up a little, messily Tetris-ed over superripe plums, although any kind of stone fruit works here. In the oven, the cobblestones cobblescones find each other, some tumbling over like blocks, sopping up some of the bubbling juices below, and browning on top. Their centers stay perfect, halfway between cake and cookie, but with a rich crumb and light almond flavor. I keep the sugar low because I like the contrast of the bracingly tart plum juices with nonnegotiable vanilla ice cream I’m melting over the top. But should you not want ice cream on your cobbler — who hurt you?! — you can adjust accordingly.

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plum and cream scone cobbler-11

Plum and Cream Scone Cobbler

You can use any kind of ripe stone fruit here — I love this with peaches, cherries, apricots, or a mix thereof. Just swap by weight. The sugar level is listed as a range and I want to be absolutely clear that if you use only 1/2 cup, you will have a very tart cobbler that’s almost definitely not for everyone. It contrasts beautifully with vanilla ice cream but will be a little harsh on its own. The 2/3 cup-level will be far from overtly sweet, promise.
  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.15 kg) unpitted fresh, ripe plums, any variety, or other stone fruit
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup (100 to 130 grams) granulated sugar (see Note)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch (30 grams) or 3 tablespoons (25 grams) tapioca flour/starch
  • Scone topping
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces, or 115 grams), unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (225 grams) heavy cream, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) coarse or turbinado sugar
Heat oven to 400°F. Halve and pit plums, then cut fruit into 1/2-inch slices. Place in a 9×13 or equivalently sized baking dish, then add lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, granulated sugar and salt. Add butter and use your fingertips or a pastry blender to work the butter into smaller pieces, until the largest is the size of small peas. Add your almond or vanilla extract and all but 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream (i.e. you’re adding 15 tablespoons) and stir into the butter-flour mixture until it forms larger masses. Knead once or twice with hands if needed to come together.

Sprinkle counter with flour and turn dough out onto it. Flour the top of the dough and pat it out to a generous 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) thickness. Use a knife to cut dough slab into 1 1/2-inch (3.75-cm) squares. Arrange squares over fruit in pan, spacing them slightly. Brush tops of scone squares with remaining 1 tablespoon heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake cobbler for 40 to 45 minutes, until scones are puffy and browned on top and fruit is bubbling juices up around the pan.

If you can bear it, let cobbler cool for 15 to 20 minutes before digging in. Fruit will thicken as it cools. Serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top; nothing else will do.