This week's choice for Tuesdays with Dorie was Cherry-Rhubarb Cobbler, chosen by Amanda of Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake... (Hop on over to her blog for the recipe.)
I was hoping to actually use rhubarb in this cobbler. The notion of contrasting the sweet cherries with the tart rhubarb sounded intriguing. But alas, rhubarb season is over here. And can you find frozen rhubarb in any of the stores? No way. Maybe it's because every farmhouse and quite a few town and city houses have rhubarb in their gardens. People don't buy rhubarb in southern Wisconsin, apparently -- they grow it themselves or get it from their neighbors.
We don't grow rhubarb. But our neighbor Ardie does. I went over to see if she might have any in her freezer. "Not this year," she said. "My rhubarb did really badly this spring," pointing at a few small, spindly stalks. I called my friend Edie who lives about 6 blocks away. No rhubarb. She said it's never grown well for her since she moved off the farm and into town.
Jim said "Great! I don't like rhubarb." I said, "How do you know? I've known you for twenty-one years and never even seen you taste it." He said, "Yeah -- that's because I don't like rhubarb."
Fate was against me. But then Fate nudged me in a new direction -- our neighbors Deb and Lin stopped by to say, "Can you take care of our cats for a week? Oh, and please feel free to pick and eat our red raspberries while we're gone."
O.K. Fate was telling me to make a cherry and red-raspberry cobbler. I already had 20 ounces of frozen sweet black cherries. I thawed them and added in 12 ounces of fresh ripe raspberries. I added about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to give it at least some tartness, kept the sugar the same, and used 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger and 1/4 teaspoon ground dried ginger. I increased the thickener to 2 1/2 tablespoons of potato starch since the fruit mixture had a lot of liquid.
Once again, I decided to pre-bake the fruit before putting on the topping, as suggested by a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. I pre-baked it for 25 minutes, made up the biscuit dough while it was baking (for once, I followed the recipe exactly!) and then divided it into 16 pieces. Dropped them on top of the hot fruit mixture (they sank in a bit, it was still very liquid), sprinkled with ginger sugar, and baked for another 25 minutes.
What is ginger sugar? It's the sugar left over at the bottom of a bag of candied ginger. I love it! Every time I open a new bag (wonderful Australian candied ginger, from Penzeys) I dump in some extra sugar, just to make sure I have enough.
We let the cobbler cool for 20 minutes and dug in! Perfect! The topping was done, the filling was just runny enough, and the ginger added a wonderful, subtle kick. This will become my "go-to" cobbler recipe!
And I think I will plant some rhubarb.