Dating back to the early British settlers of North America, cobblers are based on seasonal fruits and topped with a wet, scone-like mixture. The result is a simple pie of sorts with the topping resembling cobblestones – thought to be the reason for this homely dessert's name.
- melted butter, to grease
- 800 g (about 5 small, firm) ripe pears, such as Williams or Packham, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
- 1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 5 cm lengths (you should have about 500 g trimmed rhubarb)
- 135 g (⅔ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
- 2 tsp natural vanilla extract or essence
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- vanilla ice-cream or cream, to serve
- 225 g (1½ cups) self-raising flour
- pinch of salt
- 125 g chilled butter, cubed
- 75 g (⅓ cup) raw sugar sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling
- 125 ml (½ cup) buttermilk, plus extra to glaze
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly grease a 1.5 litre (6 cup) ovenproof dish with the melted butter.
Peel, quarter and core the pears. Cut each quarter in half lengthwise and place in a large bowl. Add the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and toss gently to combine evenly. Transfer to the oven-proof dish.
To make the cobbler topping, sift the flour and salt together into a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and the butter is evenly incorporated. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre.
Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture and use a flat-bladed knife to mix with a cutting action until the dough comes together in clumps. Use lightly floured hands to bring the dough together – it will be a sticky dough. Use lightly floured hands to roll into roughly 2 cm balls and place randomly over the top of the fruit.
Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of the cobbler mixture with the extra buttermilk and then sprinkle with the extra raw sugar.
Bake in preheated oven for 40–45 minutes or until golden brown and the cobbler topping is cooked through and the fruit is tender when tested with a skewer. If browning too quickly, cover the top with a piece of foil towards the end of baking. Serve warm with ice-cream or cream.
• The pears can be replaced by apples in this recipe. Cut them into thin wedges before combining them with the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Kristine Duran-Thiesse. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
For more recipes, view our online column, Bakeproof: Scones.