A few weeks ago, I declared my excitement for crisp/crumble/slump/cobbler season, but thanks to an early summer virus that declaration wasn’t followed by any immediate forays into fruity dessert territory. Finally, I went there, and this vegan peach & cherry cornmeal cobbler is the happy result.
Last summer’s go-to dessert was either this blueberry buckle or this plum galette; I loved both of them and made them each at least a half dozen times between June and September. I have a feeling that this is going to be the summer of cobbler.
Truthfully? I’ve always preferred cobbler to crisps or crumbles. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good crisp—I definitely do—but only that I can’t resist a hefty, biscuit-like topping. I know that some cobblers have cake-like toppings (in which case they remind me of buckles—it’s hard to keep all of the nomenclature straight) and I’m a big fan of those, too. In either case, I love having something a little denser to enjoy than crumble topping, which always feels a little too dispersed and leaves me craving more.
Stone fruits are just showing up in my neck of the woods; strawberries are still reigning supreme at the market. But peaches and plums are slowly arriving, and cherries are leading the way. This dessert was inspired last week when I made a trip to the Whole Foods Market 365 in Fort Greene, which is a place where I love to shop. It’s too far to be my go-to grocery store, but I can get to it easily by train, and I’m always pleased to find a huge selection of my favorite 365 products (including canned goods, pantry staples, cleaning supplies, legumes, beans, and more).
The Whole Foods Market 365 in Brooklyn often features deals on produce as well, and this month it’s teeming with melons, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, berries, and grapes, as well as pre-prepped, ready-to-grill veggies. The store offers similar values and quality foods as regular Whole Foods locations—but the focus is on more affordable price points and compact, easy-to-navigate locations, both of which I appreciate.
On this trip, I also noticed that the store was carrying a new line of vegan, almond milk ice creams! I couldn’t help stocking up on two flavors (French vanilla and Berry Chantilly Cake), and they’re delicious. Just the right amount of sweet, creamy, and a nice alternative to coconut ice creams, which I love, too, but almond is a slightly lighter and more neutral base. Both of the flavors went perfectly with the cobbler.
For the cobbler itself, I picked up whole wheat pastry flour, which is my usual choice for baking (along with light spelt). I worried a little that the biscuits might be too dense without AP flour, but they’re really not—the cornmeal gives them some lightness and subtle sweetness.
Otherwise, it’s a simple recipe: tons of stone fruits, a basic vegan biscuit topping. If you’re not in the mood to break out the biscuit cutter, you can actually take a more crumble-like approach and just dot the top with the dough, until most of it’s covered; it’s a different look, but a good look! Here’s the recipe.
For the filling:
- 4 cups of any combination of peeled pitted and chopped peaches, plums and/or nectarines
- 2 cups pitted and halved cherries
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry or light spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
For the biscuit topping:
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry or light spelt flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 5 tablespoons vegan butter or solid coconut oil
- 1/3 cup almond or other non-dairy milk, mixed with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 350F. To prepare the filling, mix the ingredients together and pour them into a lightly oiled, 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square baking dish (a deep pie dish or 8 x 11 rectangular dish is just fine, too).
To prepare the biscuits, place the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the vegan butter and use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into pea-sized pieces. Add the almond milk and vinegar mixture, continuing to mix with the pastry cutter, until the dough is solid and holds together when you squeeze it. If it’s very dry or crumbly, add an additional tablespoon of almond milk.
Flatten the two into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick, then use a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut it into circles or another shape. Place the biscuits on top of the fruit in the baking dish. Continue gathering leftover bits of dough into a new rectangle and cutting it into shapes until you’ve used the dough up, making sure to handle it gently and not overwork it too much.
Transfer the cobbler to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Allow it to cool for an hour before serving.
This dessert felt like a summery rite of passage—somehow it made the season official, at least in the realm of food (it was appropriate that I made it right around solstice-time). I enjoyed the leftovers for days, savoring the contrast of the biscuits, which kept their crumbly texture well, and the sweet, juicy fruits.
I think this is a nice time to wish everyone a happy, official, and sweet summer. If you try the cobbler, I hope you’ll love it. And I’ll see you this weekend for some reads and recipes.
This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market 365. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!