Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pear Cobbler with Blueberries and Stone-Ground Corn Biscuits

I have to admit, I thought this recipe looked great but I was hesitant to make this with the pears and here's why: When I was younger, someone made our family a pear pie for some occasion. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted. I love pears and I'm not sure what made it so bad, but it has made me avoid cooking with pears for over 10 years now.  I decided I was going to make it but substitute peaches to the recipe. My wife was with me though when we were shopping and she convinced me to get the pears.
So I went with it and I am certainly glad I did. This was a fantastic cobbler, one of my favorite's ever. The pears were cooked just right, still slightly firm, and the blueberries were a perfect complement. The cornmeal biscuits with the sugar crust gave the perfect crunch and I thought they were much better than a typical crumble crust.
This cobbler would make a great dessert to bring for a Thanksgiving dinner with the family. It's not the usual pie, so it gives people another option and I think even the die hard pie lovers might give this one a go.

Pear Cobbler with Blueberries and Stone-Ground Corn Biscuits 
adapted from Bon Appetit




1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup stone-ground cornmeal (medium grind)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream


Pear filling

6 pounds firm but ripe Seckel pears, Taylor Gold pears, or Bosc pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon (scant) coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries



Whisk flour, cornmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in large bowl. Add chilled butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream; stir just until moistened. Gather dough together; form into 8-inch-long log. Cut log crosswise into eight 1-inch-thick rounds. Spread 3 tablespoons sugar on plate. Dip 1 cut side of each biscuit into melted butter, then dip buttered side in sugar. Place biscuits, sugared side up, on platter; sprinkle any remaining sugar over top. Cover and chill.

Pear filling

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place pears in large bowl. Add next 6 ingredients; toss. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Transfer pear filling to prepared dish. Dot with diced butter. Cover dish with foil. Bake until pears are almost tender, about 40-50 minutes. (I cooked mine on the lower end just to make sure they didn't get mushy)Remove dish from oven; stir blueberries into pear filling. Place biscuits atop filling. Continue to bake uncovered until filling is bubbling thickly, biscuits are pale golden, and tester inserted into biscuits comes out clean, about 35 minutes longer (biscuits may look cracked). Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm. 


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