We are into pear season now and what better way to enjoy them than in a cobbler? Pears are an exceptionally juicy fruit, especially when cooked, so recipes that allow the juices to cook down and concentrate are usually winners, and the combination featuring a warm, sticky gingerbread immediately caught my eye.
The original recipe was enormous, baked in a 10×15″ pan and serving 16 people. I’ve adapted it for an 8×8 pan which serves 6-8. It doesn’t freeze well, or I’d suggest simply going with the original recipe and putting half in the freezer for another day. One can indeed have too much of a good thing!
Pears, crystallized ginger and gingerbread – what a wonderful combination! This twist on a traditional cobbler makes for a marvellous dessert.
For the pear layer
- 1/2 tbsp butter for the baking dish
- 2 1/2 lb ripe pears (about 6 medium), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Bosc or Anjou pears work well)
- 1/3 c granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 3/4 tsp minced lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 1 tbsp minced crystallized ginger (about 1/2 oz)
- 2 1/2 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 oz (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
For the gingerbread biscuit layer
- 4 oz (7/8 c) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/3 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) vegetable shortening
- 1/2 oz (1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tbsp c molasses
- 1/3 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the topping
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly butter an 8″x8″ square or 10″ x 7″ oval baker.
Make the pear layer
- In a large bowl, gently toss the sliced pears with the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Make sure the lemon juice completely coats the pears to keep them from browning. Sprinkle the crystallized ginger and flour over the top. Stir until evenly incorporated, breaking apart any ginger pieces that may be stuck together. Spread the pear mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan and dot with the softened butter pieces. NOTE: If the pears seem at all unripe to you, pre-bake them in the oven for 10-20 minutes until they can be pierced with a fork before adding the biscuit layer.
Make the biscuit layer
- In a food processor bowl, pulse the flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Add the shortening and butter and pulse to combine. Transfer to a medium sized bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, molasses, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the egg mixture into the well. Stir just until the dry ingredients are completely blended
- Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the pears to create a cobbled effect, taking care to space the mounds about 1 inch apart. Though the batter will cover only about half of the pear layer, don’t spread it out. It will rise and spread to cover most of the pears as it bakes. If you run out of space to drop the batter before it’s all used, distribute what remains among the existing mounds.
Apply the topping and bake
- Sprinkle the nuts and sugar evenly over the cobbler. Bake until the pears are tender and the topping is golden brown (35 to 40 minutes). If needed, rotate the pan midway through the baking to allow the top to brown evenly. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
- The cobbler is at its best warm from the oven, however, if you wish to make it a day ahead, once it’s completely cool, wrap it in plastic and store it at room temperature for up to 24 hours.
- It will hold up in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Reheat by removing the plastic, covering loosely with fool and heat in a 300°F oven until warmed through, (10-15 minutes).
- Serving Size: 8