Episode 133 – “Cobbled Together”

Posted: February 23, 2020 in Season 9
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t really had much time for baking or desserts lately, which are some of my favorite things to make. This episode, though, forced me to take the time to make a few sweet treats for dessert and/or breakfast. Cobblers, crisps, and grunts were made in this episode, and Alton explained that any fruit found in the jam/jelly aisle of the grocery store will work well in these desserts; feel free to mix it up!

Rhubarb Peach Cobbler

A cobbler was made first, which Alton described as a fruit dessert topped with a pie crust-like topping. I really try to avoid making ingredient substitutions in this project, but I had to find a rhubarb alternative, as rhubarb isn’t in season yet and I could not find frozen rhubarb locally. I opted for leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving that we had tucked away in the freezer. Oh, and I used frozen peaches in place of the fresh peaches. To make the dough place 9.5 oz flour, 1 oz sugar, 1 T lime zest, and 1 t Kosher salt in a food processor, pulsing 3-4 times.

Add 4.5 oz cubed unsalted butter and 1.5 oz cubed lard (both fats should be chilled), and pulse until the mixture climbs up the sides of the bowl.

Add 1-3 T ice water until the dough holds together when squeezed between your fingers.

Place the dough in a large Ziplock, pat it into a disc, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can also freeze the dough for up to three months.

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Dough placed in Ziplock bag to chill.

When your dough has chilled, it is time to make the fruit portion of the cobbler. Combine in a bowl:  1 C sugar, 2 T cornstarch, and 1/4 t Kosher salt, whisking to combine. Add 1 lb rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces (this is where I subbed my frozen cranberries). Add 1 lb sliced peaches (I used frozen) and 1 T fresh lime juice, and toss the fruit with your hands.

Crumble 1/3 of the cold dough over the bottom of a greased 9×9″ glass pan and top with the fruit. I could tell that my fruit mixture was not going to fit in a 9×9″ pan, so I used a 9×13″ glass dish.

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1/3 of dough crumbled into the bottom of a baking dish.

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Fruit added to the dish.

Roll the rest of the dough within its Ziplock and cut the sides of the bag. Remove the top side of the bag and invert it over your hand so the plastic side is touching your hand.

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Dough rolled out inside Ziplock. Top of bag removed to invert dough directly onto fruit.

Press the dough side onto the top of the fruit and peel off the remaining bag.

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Dough placed on fruit.

Bake the cobbler at 375 degrees for 60 minutes, or until golden. If you use frozen fruit, as I did, you will need to bake the cobbler for 90 minutes. At the end of the baking, place the cobbler under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Let the cobbler cool for 15-30 minutes before digging in.

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Cobbler after baking.

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Alton’s cobbler.

I was really happy with this cobbler, though I wish I could have made it with the rhubarb. The cranberries contributed a nice tartness in place of the rhubarb, though. I really liked the crispy, flaky texture of the cobbler topping, which is only lightly sweetened. If anything, some people may wish for this cobbler to be a little bit sweeter, but I happened to like its tart flavor. This cobbler is best when eaten the day it is made, as the crust portion loses its crispy, flaky texture over time.

Blackberry Grunt

I can’t say that I honestly knew what a grunt was until I watched Alton prepare his version. Basically, a grunt is a fruity filling topped with dough that is traditionally cooked on the stove; it gets its name from the grunting sound it makes as it cooks. Unlike the dough in the cobbler, the dough in this recipe is not sweetened. Really, the dough in this recipe is like a biscuit. To make the dough, place 9.5 oz of flour in a food processor, along with 2 t baking powder, 1 t Kosher salt, and 1/4 t baking soda. Pulse the flour mixture a few times to combine.

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Flour, baking powder, baking soda, and Kosher salt in food processor.

Transfer the flour to a bowl and use your fingers to “cut in” 2 oz of cold, cubed unsalted butter; do this by using your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in 1 C buttermilk. Stir the buttermilk into the flour just until combined loosely.

Dump the dough onto a floured piece of parchment paper, dusting the top of the dough with additional flour. Wrap the parchment up over the dough and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

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Finished dough placed on floured parchment before going into refrigerator.

While the dough chills, combine 1 C sugar, 1/2 t ground ginger, 1 C water, and 1 lb 3 oz fresh or frozen blackberries in a bowl, stirring to combine.

Pour the fruit into a 10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat, bringing the fruit to a simmer. Once simmering, decrease the heat and continue to cook the fruit until it has thickened. It took quite a while for my berries to thicken – I would allow at least 45 minutes for this step.

When the fruit is ready, use a 1-ounce disher or two dinner spoons to place dumplings of dough on top of the berries, working from the outside to the inside.

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Biscuit dough placed on top of berries.

Bake the grunt in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Grunt after baking.

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Alton’s blackberry grunt served with vanilla ice cream.

The dough in this recipe yielded a topping with the texture and flavor of a biscuit, which contrasted nicely with the fairly sweet fruit. I should have cooked my fruit a little longer, but impatience got the better of me and I ended up with a slightly soupy grunt. Still, though, the flavor was really good and the leftovers made for a nice breakfast.

Individual Berry Crisps

A crisp is last in this episode and this recipe is the fastest one to prepare. For the crisp topping, combine:  5 oz flour, 2/3 C sugar, 1 1/2 C chopped nuts,  and 1 1/2 C crushed gingersnaps, crackers, or cereal.

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Flour, sugar, nuts, and crushed gingersnaps.

Cut in 4 oz of cold unsalted butter, cubed.

In a second bowl combine 12 oz frozen berries, 1/4 C sugar, 2 t cornstarch, and 1/2 C of your prepared crisp topping. Stir the fruit mixture well and divide it among four ramekins that are 7-8 ounces. I actually used our French onion soup bowls.

Top each crisp with 1/2 C of the crisp topping. Place the ramekins on a sheet pan and bake them for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Crisp topping placed on top of fruit.

Let the crisps cool for at least 15 minutes before eating.

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Alton’s individual berry crisps.

This was my favorite recipe of this episode. Not only was this super easy and fast to make, but it was also really delicious. I used crushed gingersnaps in my crisps and I highly recommend doing so – they add great crunch and gingery flavor. If you use Alton’s ratio of 1/2 C crisp topping to each crisp, you will have quite a lot of crisp topping left over. I was able to make six crisps with one recipe of crisp topping. This is a really great recipe for any day of the week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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