My mother has a signature dish anytime potluck is required and it’s an often-requested recipe. She always says, “It’s simple, just dump in a cup of everything.” What started out as my grandmother’s peach cobbler has become my go-to for fruit or berry cobbler.
It’s more cake than pie or pastry, a dump cake recipe really. I added spices and learned to use whatever fruit is ripening or leftover, but it remains an easy, rich, Southern-style dessert for any occasion or a random supper.
We prefer it warm with ice cream on top. It’s also great with whipped cream, creme fraiche, or dark or white chocolate drizzled over the top. You can add extra fresh fruit, or coulis, or compote. See what I mean? The options are endless.
Recipe Notes –
- IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE – When removing browned butter from the oven and pouring in batter, be very careful. Use protective oven mitts and hold away from your face. Treat it as you would any hot oil.
- You can use any baking dish. The bigger the dish, the shallower the cobbler will be. If you go as large as 9X13, start checking after 40 minutes.
- My batter is brownish because I used raw sugar. If you use regular white sugar, yours will be lighter and will brown a little lighter (which is fine, there’s no difference in the taste).
- No dish prep is needed, the butter will see that nothing sticks.
- You can use salted butter and omit the salt, but it will be really salty. My kids love it this way, it’s far too salty for me.
- This is a great recipe for camping in a large Dutch oven.
- Spices are optional and quantities are up to you – likewise vanilla extract. You can use any flavor of extract you like or none at all. I think an orange cobbler with lime extract will be next on my list.
- Use any fruit and you can use as much or little solid fruit you like as long as you have the correct amount of liquid. I’ve even used a can of fruit cocktail in a potluck pinch.
- The 1/2 cup of juice can be the juices from canned fruit, the juices from fresh or frozen fruit, fruit juice, or simply fruit puree if you like things less sweet.
- You can leave out the juice if you like, the result will be a delicious fruit cake, not quite as sweet. The juice makes it gooey and sticky and richer.
- The timing is variable, dependent upon your oven and the type of fruit you use, so start watching at around 30 minutes and cook it until the cake looks like the picture, a deep golden brown. (This should give you crispy butter-fried edges so if you prefer a softer cake, bake it less.) It will pull away from the sides slightly when it’s done. Also, the darker the pan, the faster it will cook. You may need to take the temp down to 325F if you are using a black skillet.
- Let it cool a bit, hot sugar and butter will burn you.
- You may be able to use less sugar, dependent upon how sweet you like your desserts and how sweet your fruit and juices are.
- If you have time to brown the butter, you can simply melt it instead.
- You’ll know the butter has started to brown when you hear it start to make faint popping sounds (helpful if you’re using a dark skillet).
Simple Fruit Cobbler
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted or omit the salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder double acting
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon or apple pie spice optional
- 1 pinch nutmeg optional
- 1 pinch allspice optional
- 1/2 tsp table salt or 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup fruit juice from can or fruit – see note
- 1 cup milk
- 1.5 cups fruit frozen, fresh, or canned – see note
- Place butter in a casserole, large over-proof skillet, or baking dish in center of oven. Preheat to 350F. Heat until butter is melted completely and lightly browned (see photo).
- While butter is melting, stir or whisk together dry ingredients. Stir in milk and vanilla, small lumps are fine. Set aside to rest until butter is browned.
- When butter is ready, carefully remove dish from oven and pour in batter. It is a loose batter, don't mix it with the butter. Do not stir once it's in the baking dish.
- Gently pour fruit juice around the dish, then position fruit gently and spaced evenly, onto top of batter. Do not stir or mix.
- Carefully place dish back in the oven – remember, it's hot. Bake 45-75 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through (see notes regarding time). Start checking at 45 minutes. It's done when it is brown and begins to pull away from the sides (see photo). The center will wobble a bit until it cools.
- Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.