By Rose McAvoy
Every day we go through our closets mixing and matching various items to create a new outfit. Sometimes a tailored blouse works with dark blue jeans then the next week the same shirt gets paired with a pencil skirt. Recipes are a lot like outfits and pantries are like closets. We keep the same basic staples, frequently combining old favorites but sometimes it’s nice to try a new combination and see what happens.
I like to revisit my own recipes and often swap ingredients and spices according to my mood or pantry supplies. When I made this cobbler, with several alternate ingredients, I didn’t think much of it, until I looked up the nutritional information. The overall calorie load was reduced, the carbohydrates were reduced, and the amount of sugar was reduced. The total fat increased, but only slightly. Those counting points may be excited to learn, this revised recipe has 1 less than the original.
The cause of the changes? I swapped the honey and granulated sugar for agave and coconut sugar. Both agave and coconut sugar are processed from sap. Agave is sold in liquid form and is a very tasty alternative for honey and some syrups. Coconut sugar is sold in a granulated form that looks and tastes like a cross between white and brown sugar. In most recipes, agave and coconut sugar can be traded measure for measure with honey and white or brown sugar. Personally I find these plant-based sugars sweeter than sugar, and often use less than a recipe calls for. Check out the Wholesome Sweeteners website for help tracking down either of these ingredients.
The recipe also specifies virgin coconut oil rather than butter. I like to use this vegetable fat from time to time. It has a light flavor and silky texture that gives this cobbler a lovely crisp crust. I don’t view coconut oil as a magical replacement for butter or oil, but I do think it is a great addition to my collection of cooking fats. If you are curious about the nutritional details of coconut oil and learning more ways to use it, check out this New York Times article: Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World.
It feels a little odd writing about cobbler in February. I imagine many of you are like me in associating this dessert with summer and its abundance of fresh fruits. Fortunately, these Lemon Plums are in season now, in Chile. So, yes, they have journeyed a bit of a distance to get from their trees to our tables. I personally don’t mind the occasional international visitor especially when they are as pretty as these plums.
I first came across the blushing fruits only a year ago and quickly set about turning them into a cobbler. They came out of the oven bubbly and sweet smelling nestled under a tender biscuit crust. Oh boy was it good! Last week I was delighted to come across a heap of these South American treats. I greedily scooped up about 2 1/2 pounds of bright yellow fruit and brought them home to ripen.
Lemon Plums (also called Yellow Plums) really are a gorgeous fruit. Mostly round with a crease down one side like other plums, they are quickly identifiable by their blushing lemon color and whimsically swooping teardrop bottoms. Despite their names, when fully ripe they are soft, sweet, and juicy — not lemony. Let them sit in a sunny spot until the skin has changed from all yellow to a deep rosy blush. Enjoy watching the color change, it is a treat, especially in winter.
Stone Fruit Cobbler
This summery dessert pairs the natural sweetness of ripe fruit with a tender full flavor biscuit crust. The combination is so good you may not want to share! And if a bit happens to fall into a bowl with some yogurt in the morning – call it breakfast! Use this recipe with any stone fruit you love. See last year’s Stone Fruit Cobbler recipe for a cobbler made with more traditional ingredients.
Prep Time: 15 -20 minutes, Cook Time: 30 – 35 minutes; Yield 8 servings
- 7 – 8 cups sliced stone fruit, about 2 1/2 – 3 lbs.
- 1 tablespoon blue agave
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- zest of 1/2 a lemon (around 1 tsp)
- 2/3 c. self rising flour
- 1/3 c. coconut palm sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 40 grams (2TB + 2t) virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In a large bowl toss fruit slices with agave, lemon juice and zest.
- Arrange fruit in a glass or ceramic baking dish (11×7).
- In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients for the crust, add the beaten egg and oil.
- Drop small spoonfuls of dough over the fruit making sure all areas get an equal amount.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until crust is crisp and golden.