Strawberry & Rhubarb Biscuit Skillet

March 30, 2023
3 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

There’s a short window of time each spring when both strawberries and rhubarb are at peak deliciousness, and when that moment strikes, you have to take advantage of it. There’s just no other combination of flavors that perfectly meld together to create something that symbolizes the concentrated essence of the season: The jammy sweetness of the strawberries balances out the sharp, piercing tartness of rhubarb while still giving it space to shine. Neither component overshadows the other, but instead highlights the best qualities of each.

This recipe—a simple biscuit-topped cobbler that’s equivalent to a strawberry shortcake gone cozy—utilizes the power couple in a way that brings their flavor front and center. A combination of fresh strawberries and rhubarb get tossed with brown sugar, lemon zest and juice, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and just a touch of cinnamon to create a flavorful foundation for the pillowy biscuit topping. The biscuits, which provide a hearty, buttery contrast to the tart filling, are made somewhat similarly to scones. You’ll pinch pieces of butter into your dry ingredients, then moisten the dough with a generous amount of cream until it comes together. For a bit of pizzazz, I like to cut the dough into small, circular pieces and artfully arrange them on top for a playful presentation. Brush the tops with heavy cream, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake until the filling has reduced down into a bubbling lava that distills all the best flavors of spring into one bite. —Jesse Szewczyk

What You'll Need
  • For the filling:
  • 1 pound (453 grams) rhubarb (about 7 or 8 stalks), sliced crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces (about 5 ½ cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters (about 5 ½ cups)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced and zested (about ¼ cup juice and 1 ½ teaspoons zest)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (45 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the topping:
  • 2 1/4 cups (288 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams or 1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (237 milliliters) cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coarse sugar such as turbinado or sanding, for sprinkling
  1. Heat the oven to 375°F (191°C) with a rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Make the filling: In a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 9-inch pie pan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice and zest, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Toss with your hands until the fruit is evenly coated and no dry pockets of cornstarch remain. (If your skillet is too small to comfortably mix everything together, mix it in a large bowl and transfer into the skillet.) Press the mixture into an even layer and set aside.
  3. Make the topping: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar until combined. Using the largest side of a box grater, grate the cold butter directly into the bowl of dry ingredients and toss together using your hands so each piece of butter is thoroughly coated in the flour mixture. Pinch the shreds of butter into the flour until they are the size of peas. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract; mix using a rubber spatula just until a shaggy dough forms. (Be careful not to overmix. Some small pockets of unincorporated flour are OK. You don’t want the dough to be smooth.)
  4. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface, press into a cohesive mass, and roll out using a lightly floured rolling pin to create a circle that’s roughly ½-inch thick. Using a roughly 1 ¾-inch-thick circle cutter, cut out rounds of the biscuit dough. Arrange the dough rounds on top of the filling so the edges of each round are touching and there is very little space between each of them. (If you need to re-roll the dough scraps to create enough rounds to cover the top, press them together until they stick but don’t knead them.)
  5. Brush the tops of the dough rounds with heavy cream and generously sprinkle with coarse sugar. Place the skillet on top of a sheet pan (to catch any drips) and bake until the filling is bubbling in the center and the biscuits are dark golden brown, 50 to 65 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

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