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I go a little crazy when it’s rhubarb season in Seattle! It’s a limited time when these beautiful, crimson, celery-like shards of deliciousness show up in farmers markets and stores, and during the month or so when I can find young, tender rhubarb I take advantage of this tart fruit.
Last week we walked to my son Jakey boy’s home to see his three sons before dinner, and Jake made a lovely rhubarb raspberry cobbler, topped with rounds of cornmeal biscuits. It looked very professional, and I was duly impressed because Jake is an amazing cook but not typically enamored with baking desserts. He doesn’t crave sweets, yet he tried this Melissa Clark iteration. Fortunately, he served us dessert before his chicken dinner and dished up bowls of this cobbler topped with decadent vanilla bean ice cream. Between the sweet raspberries, tart rhubarb and textured topping it was sheer perfection.
Needless to say, I went home and made this exact recipe two days later. I served it to my two grandsons for dinner and when their parents returned from a date night they helped themselves to dessert as well. All of us were so happy with the results that it will now have an honored spot in my rhubarb recipe rotation for the future.
I had a leg up since Jake was the first to make this recipe. He told me the amount of sugar was just right (I often back off on sugar) and suggested I put a cookie sheet under the baking dish since his cobbler overflowed in the oven. In addition, I didn’t have finely ground cornmeal and he advised me to just whirl the coarse cornmeal in the food processor for a bit to break it down into finer granules. Genius!
The result was otherworldly. If you can find fresh rhubarb in your neck of the woods, make this as soon as possible. I admit that this became my breakfast the following morning as well. And truth be told, this was my main course for dinner … you only live once!
Rhubarb Raspberry Cobbler
- 2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
- 2 ½ cups fresh raspberries (or one 10-ounce package frozen raspberries, defrosted if you’re in a pinch – but I did not try this)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, more as necessary
- ⅔ cup fine cornmeal (or process coarser cornmeal for 15 seconds)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- \1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- ⅔ cup heavy cream, more for brushing (I forgot to brush the tops)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For filling, in a large bowl, toss together rhubarb, raspberries, sugar and cornstarch. Allow the mixture to stand while preparing biscuit dough.
To prepare the biscuits, place flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine (or whisk everything together in a bowl).
Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal (or use two knives to cut butter into flour mixture). Pour in cream and continue pulsing (or stir) until dough starts to come together, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface (I did have to add a little more flour to make it easier to handle) and gently pat it together. Divide it equally into eight balls, then flatten them slightly into thick rounds. Biscuit dough can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated, covered, until needed.
Scrape filling and accumulated juices into a 2 ½ -quart gratin or baking dish (9 by 12 inches). Arrange biscuits on top of filling and brush with cream. Place a rimmed cookie sheet underneath the pan containing the cobbler, and Bbake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and biscuits are golden.
Let it cool for at least 30 minutes or longer, and dish into a bowl. Top with ice cream or whipped cream or plain yogurt. This thickens up a lot when left to cool completely.