Monday, August 23, 2010

Wood Fired Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

I had been thinking about making desserts for a while in my oven, and while this may be the only one I make thus far, it's so good it has dissuaded me from wanting to make anything else. I suppose when strawberries and rhubarb go out of season, I'll have to do something else. Until then....

This recipe is actually a combination of two recipes I got from the always excellent Smitten Kitchen food blog. The filling comes from her Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe, and the biscuit topping comes from her Rhubarb Cobbler recipe.

I've made a few changes. First, I found that the tapioca pearls were not dissolving fast enough in the wood fired oven - since the cooking time is dramatically faster. So I instead swapped them out for tapioca flour, and found it works just as well. Second, I found I needed a bit more fruit for my particular pan, which is about 9"X12", so I increased everything in the filling by 50%.

Since I normally keep my oven around 700 degrees, I had to modify the baking approach. I found that letting the fruit filling cook for 10-15 minutes, taking it out and adding the biscuit topping, and then finishing it off for 7-10 minutes works wonderfully. If anything is threatening to burn, just cover it with aluminum foil.

The dough can be made several hours in advance, which makes it easy for entertaining. You can cut the fruit and measure your dry ingredients for the filling, but don't combine them until just before you bake so you don't end up macerating the strawberries.


Makes one 9"X12" cobbler

For the biscuit topping:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2/3 cup heavy cream

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of cream and pulse until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it together, incorporating any stray crumbs. Pat the dough out until it is about ¼” thick and then cut into circles with cookie cutters. Repeat with the scraps until it’s all cut. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the filling:

2 ¼ pounds rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
1 ½ pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 mounded cup light brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoon lemon juice
¼ plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Wait until you are ready to bake to assemble the filling. Combine everything except the butter in a bowl and mix to combine. Put the filling in a baking pan and then spread the butter evenly around. This is a large batch, so you overstuff your dish you may get some juice spilling over onto your oven floor.

Baking: Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes - the juices should be fully bubbling. Remove from the oven, top with the biscuits and then return to the oven. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, until the topping has risen fully and taken on some color. Remove and serve with whipped cream. Baking time is of course highly dependent on oven temperature, so it's more a matter of when it looks done than what the clock says. Trust me, it's easy!

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