Honeyed Plum Cobbler with Spiced Biscuits
I am all for enjoying traditional desserts – when they are delicious, of course. I use tried and true recipes, look up new recipes, and sometimes create a variation of my own to perfect (in my oh-so-humble opinion) the flavor and texture. This delicious Honey Plum Cobbler is the result of me trying to find a cobbler recipe that really had a great flavor. Not only plum flavor, but a supporting cast of other flavors, as well, that really allowed this plum dessert to shine.
When is a cobbler a cobbler?
Crisp, buckle, cobbler, crumble, pie – what is it? Why is it such a muddle to figure out which is which? For the most part, I grew up knowing a crisp, cobbler, and well of course, pie! A crisp in our home had a sweet oat crumble topping, while a cobbler was more cake-like and with something like a fruit pudding underneath it. This was from my mom’s southern roots. This is what I knew.
Fast-forward to now when I have buckets of fresh plums to use from my plum tree and I’m not sure which way to take the plum dessert. I settled on cobbler but wanted a more fruit-forward cobbler than the one with which I grew up. After googling “cobbler” for more inspiration, here are some things I discovered:
– Like with many things, the expectation for what a cobbler is varies. Biscuit-like topping or more cake-like base (what I grew up with – love those Southern roots). Dough on just the top or top and bottom (this is a pie y’all!).
– According to some, “cobbler” is the all-encompassing name for all of the desserts I mentioned above – now that is just confusing.
– Not only does the expectation differ, but the exact origin of the name varies as well. Everything from the biscuit-like top resembling cobbled streets, to ingredients being ‘cobbled’ together with what was available (most common explanation, but not as cute of an image).
– No matter why it is called a cobbler, everyone agrees that it was one of the first desserts in America.
– Clear as mud? Yup. I’m just going to agree that it’s good, especially topped with ice cream!
Plums for Cobbler
The one thought about cobblers that most people agree on is that today’s cobbler always has fruit. Well, that I’ve got. Thanks to another year of a productive plum tree (just you wait for the plum cake recipe coming soon), I have the perfect stone fruit for a cobbler.
Sweetness of Plums
The plums coming off of our tree are not the super sweet: barely tart plums that you sometimes find in stores or farmer’s markets. These plums explode with juice when you bite into them, but they also bite back with a little tartness alongside their sweetness. These plums have flavor AND personality!
All this being said, if your plums are really sweet, you can use a little less sugar. If your plums are also biting back a bit, you will want to use the full amount, and maybe even a touch more. There is always a challenge to achieving consistency or perfection (that’s me, *raises hand*) with fruit. Not all fruit is the same, so sometimes adjustments are needed. Oh, the terror! But “You can do it!” – from one perfectionist to another.
No, I will not be including my mom and sister in that ‘perfectionist’ group that needs measurements, they are President and VP of “Until it’s right, I never measure.”
This plum cobbler is a dessert. You can’t mess up a dessert. If it needs a little more sweetness at the end, throw a scoop of ice cream on top for a delicious a-la-mode cobbler (my family’s preference) and you have dessert perfection!
As I mentioned, these plums have SO much juice. This is fantastic, but also could potentially make my cobbler base a little looser than it should. My solution is this: cut the plums on a cutting board, and the juice that runs out wasn’t meant to be in the cobbler. I scoop the cut plums off the cutting board and add to my baking dish, but the excess plum juice I leave out.
Welcome to Lauren’s Easy Solutions 101, this has been your first lesson.
I measure the cut plums; by weight is the easiest, but you can also use a cup measurement, and add the plums to the sprayed baking dish. Then I drizzle the honey over the plums, add the vanilla and gently stir them together. You don’t want to smoosh all your plums from the start. However, if some do end up smooshed, it really is okay.
Then sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch mixture over the top of the plum and honey mixture and again gently stir until you can no longer see the white cornstarch.
Biscuit topped Cobbler
I loved the idea of topping the beautiful plum filling with a spiced biscuit to really add depth and distinct texture to the cobbler. I also just LOVE biscuits, especially some that have been baked sitting on delicious, honeyed plums. Who wouldn’t want that?!
The slight spice from the cinnamon in the biscuit adds just the right amount of warmth to compliment the plum flavor without overpowering it. You can leave out the cinnamon if you would rather the biscuit flavor take somewhat of a back seat to the plums. After trying the spiced biscuits on top, I won’t be able to go back to plain biscuits. These biscuits don’t just support the plums, they shine on their own.
Also, carbs are my true love, so you can take my adamant biscuit love with a grain of salt. This topping is truly divine though.
Cobbler Topping Tips
The key to this biscuit topping for the plum cobbler is treating it like a biscuit. Mix the dry ingredients together, cut in the butter with a pastry blender (this one is my favorite) or a fork.
Cutting in butter tricks
If you really don’t like cutting in butter, I get it, but I also have solutions. Don’t let the thought of cutting in butter keep you from making this recipe. If you have a grater or a food processor you are set.
For the grating method: grate your frozen stick of butter onto wax or parchment paper and place it back in the freezer for about 10 minutes. When you are ready to add your butter, stir in gently the frozen, grated butter until it is fully incorporated into the flour – voila, done.
Food processor method: as most of you probably already know, there are many uses for a good food processor. (This one is my favorite because it has been my work horse for 12 years now, and it hasn’t let me down yet.) One use is to make doughs, toppings, or crusts. Simply add your dry ingredients, pulse a couple of times with the steel blade to combine the ingredients, then add your cold butter cut into small chunks. Pulse the food processor until your butter is pea-sized or smaller. I like to dump the mixture out at this point into a bowl, so I am sure to not overmix, but you could also continue in your food processor if you wish.
Topping your Plum Cobbler
Add your Half & Half (or cream) to your flour and butter mixture and stir together until just combined. Add just 3 Tbs at first and see if you need to add the last Tbs of the Half & Half. I find it easiest to finish mixing with my clean hand. The dough seems to still be crumbly if I am just using a spoon or spatula, but with my hand, I can kind of smoosh it together as I’m mixing. Just don’t overwork it and your plum cobbler topping will be great.
To get the more spaced out “cobbled streets of yore” appearance with your biscuits all distinctly separate and with plum moats around each one, use a “drop biscuit” approach when topping your cobbler. I, however, decided to upgrade the cobbled streets to more coverage and less of a tripping hazard. I will admit that this is because if I don’t get some of this amazing biscuit topping in every bite of my cobbler, I would be sad.
To achieve this, I roughly divided my dough into 9 parts and flattened them some, kind of like hockey pucks, if hockey pucks were incredibly delicious and tender biscuit toppings on a plum cobbler. Then I laid the “pucks” spaced out evenly on top of my plum filling. The biscuits don’t touch and that’s okay. As they bake they will spread and bake together some – total topping coverage achieved! Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, sugar in the raw, or any sort of coarse sugar, and bake.
How to cook plum cobbler
Thankfully, cobblers are so easy to bake! My one tip here would be to place your cobbler on a foil-lined cookie sheet, just in case of spillage. I am all about saving myself a mess to clean up in the oven.
Your Honey Plum Cobbler is done when the fruit is nice and syrupy and bubbly and the biscuit topping is lightly browned and done. Removed the plum cobbler from the oven and allow it to cool a few minutes before enjoying it. That is going to be hard, but I have faith in you.
A reward worth waiting for
Once the fruit isn’t bubbling like molten lava, enjoy this Honey Plum Cobbler with or without vanilla ice cream. It’s okay if you have to have two servings because it is so delicious both ways you just can’t decide – it’s all in the name of research!
This Plum Cobbler will keep in the fridge covered with cling film or in an airtight container for at least a week.
More Delicious Recipes
- 4 cups cut plums (about 1") or 24 oz.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbs corn starch
- Biscuit Topping Ingredients
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick)
- 1/4 cup Half & Half
- Turbinado Sugar for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 8x8* baking dish by spraying with a nonstick cooking spray
- Cut plums into bite-sized pieces, about 1" chunks. Add plum to the prepared baking dish. Drizzle honey and vanilla over plums and toss gently until plums are coated.
- Mix together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and corn starch. Sprinkle mixture over plums and then gently stir until you can no longer see the white corn starch.
- Mix up the biscuit topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in the cold butter into small pieces, then cut butter into the dry ingredients using either a pastry blender, food processor, or box grater.**
- Once butter is in pea sized pieces cut into your flour, stir in half & half a little at a time until dough comes together. It is okay if you don't use all of the half & half. Be gentle with your dough so this delicious topping stays nice and tender.
- Divide dough into 9 somewhat equal pieces and gently shape spiced biscuits into hockey pucks. Place evenly around the top of the plums like a delicious tic-tac-toe game. You can also drop the biscuit like topping evenly over the plums without shaping first; this results in more plum mixture showing around the biscuits after baking. Two options, all up to your own preference, it is delicious either way!
- Sprinkle biscuit topping generously with turbinado sugar, sugar in the raw, or coarse sanding sugar.
- Bake plum cobbler for 35-45 minutes or until plum mixture is bubbly and thickened, biscuits are golden browned and baked through.
- Allow cobbler to cool for a few minutes before serving. Plum mixture thickens up slightly as it cools. Eat as is or topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. So delicious!! This will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.
*You can also use a 9x9 baking pan, but the bars will be a bit thinner, and you will need to adjust the baking time accordingly.
**If you really don’t like cutting in butter, I get it, but I also have solutions. Don’t let the
thought of cutting in butter keep you from making this recipe. If you have a grater or a food processor you are set.
For the grating method:
Grate your frozen stick of butter onto wax or parchment paper
and place it back in the freezer for about 10 minutes. When you are ready to add your butter, stir in gently the frozen, grated butter until it is fully incorporated into the flour – voila, done.
Food processor method:
Simply add your dry ingredients, pulse a couple of times with the steel blade to combine the ingredients, then add your cold butter cut into small chunks. Pulse the food processor until your butter is pea-sized. I like to dump the mixture out at this point into a bowl, so I am sure to not overmix, but you could also continue in your food processor if you wish.
For more tips and tricks on baking this recipe, please see blog post.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 363mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 2g
This information was obtained using an ingredient calculator to provide an idea of nutritional value. To obtain the most accurate numbers for nutrition information of any recipe, you should figure the nutritional information with the ingredients you used in the recipe. Each individual user is responsible for making sure that any nutritional information used is correct.