Growing up, one of my fondest Christmas traditions was watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Despite Linus' heartfelt telling of the Christmas story, Schroeder's upbeat Christmas medley, and Snoopy's hilarious antics, the star of the show was the spindly, but proud, Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I am reminded of that tree each time I walk into our backyard to gather pears. Our little pear tree stands only a few inches taller than me and, believe me, that's not saying much. One of the proudest moments of my youth was surpassing my 4 foot 11 ½-inch (don't forget the ½) mum. I stopped growing a few inches after that. Undeterred by its height challenges, our little pear tree bestows upon us about 50 pears per year. If we don't pick the pears on time, the branches of the tree become so weighted down that they almost touch the ground. It's the little tree that could.
While the pears are best enjoyed raw and unadulterated, they also make a mean crisp or cobbler. While I love using fresh blueberries in desserts such as my Spiked Blueberry Crumb Bars, frozen blueberries work beautifully when paired with other fruits in baked desserts. In this recipe, I paired frozen blueberries with fresh pears and ground ginger, and topped the mixture with moist, but crumbly biscuits to make a comforting and delicious cobbler. The perfect ode to Autumn.
Making the biscuits:
In a food processor, combine 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour,
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger,
3 tablespoons sugar,
1 ½ tablespoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt,
and 1 hard-boiled egg yolk, grated on a microplane or small holes of a box grater. Using a hard-boiled egg, rather than a raw one, produces a moist, yet crumbly texture that is ideal for biscuits.
Blend briefly to combine the ingredients.
Cut 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted, chilled butter into ½-inch cubes and add to the flour mixture. Process until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
Pour ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream into the mixture and process until moist crumbs form.
Take the dough out of the processor and place it on a floured work surface. Knead the dough about 4 times, just until the dough comes together.
With a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a ¾-inch thick rectangle. Cut out eight 3-inch circles.
Place the circles on a plate, cover, and chill until ready to use.
Making the fruit mixture:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Core and cut 2 pounds of Bartlett or Bosc pears into ½-inch slices. Place in a large bowl.
Add 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries. If using frozen blueberries, there is no need to defrost them.
Stir in ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
Butter a 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the fruit mixture into the dish.
Top the fruit mixture with the biscuit dough circles. Using 1 tablespoon heavy whipped cream, brush the tops of the biscuits. Sprinkler with 2 tablespoons raw (turbinado) sugar.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit mixture is bubbling and the biscuits are light golden brown. Cool the cobbler for 10 to 15 minutes before serving with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Pear, Blueberry & Ginger Cobbler
Biscuit recipe adapted from epicurious.com
1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 hard-boiled egg yolk, grated on a Microplane or small holes of box grater
6 tablespoon (¾ stick) unsalted, chilled butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping creamFor the fruit mixture:
2 lb. Bartlett or Bosc pears, cored and cut into ½-inch thick slices
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon raw (turbinado) sugar
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
For the biscuits:
In a food processor, combine flour, ground ginger, sugar, baking powder, grated egg yolk, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add cubes of chilled butter to the flour mixture. Process until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Pour ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream into the mixture and process until moist crumbs form. Take the dough out of the processor and place it on a floured work surface. Knead the dough about 4 times, just until the dough comes together. With a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a ¾-inch thick rectangle. Cut out eight 3-inch circles. Place the circles on a plate, cover, and chill until ready to use.