If there's a more noble application for the last of the season's plums than cobbler, I don't know what is. It's a perfect fruit delivery system, and the application of heat and sugar can hide any imperfections from less-than-perfect specimens.
When cooked, fruit gains depth and richness, but loses some of its brighter notes. Spices are the perfect way to replace that spark. I went with the trio of ginger, cardamom, and star anise, a potent combination of deep flavors and aromatic lightness. Raw sugar rounds out the fruit base, bringing a more complex sweetness that perfectly compliments the star anise. If you need to swap in white sugar, keep in mind the crystals are much finer, so start with a 1/2 cup and add more if needed.
Biscuit recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
- For the fruit base
- 2 pounds ripe plums (about 6 medium), sliced into eighths
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 star anise petals
- 5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- For the biscuit topping
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
- Up to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled buttermilk
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss plums and ginger with cornstarch in a large bowl till well combined. Dump into 10-inch cast iron or non-stick skillet with sugar, salt, anise, and cardamom. Add 1/4 cup water and place over medium heat until simmering. Reduce heat to maintain slow simmer and cook until you can draw lines in the bottom of the pan with a spoon, about 15 minutes. Remove the star anise and cardamom pods and discard.
Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl. Add the butter, rubbing it into the flour by squeezing into long, flat pieces between your fingertips and thumb. When the mixture looks mealy, add 1/2 cup of buttermilk and stir together with your hands until mixture clumps together into cohesive mass when pressed. If necessary, incorporate up to 2 tablespoons more buttermilk. Be careful not to overknead dough.
Form two-tablespoon balls with a portion scoop or large spoon and place on top of fruit. Leave 1/2 inch of space between the dough balls. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until biscuits have browned slightly and interiors aren't gooey when poked with a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cobbler rest for at least half an hour for the fruit base to set before serving.