This is my favourite time of year - the time when the Ontario strawberries finally show up at the market, the green plastic baskets heaped high with vibrantly red and intensely flavoured berries.
Nevermind that the prices are sky high compared to their jumbo-sized California-grown counterparts. I'm willing to pay the premium, not just because I believe in buying local and supporting our farmers, but because I honestly believe these are the only strawberries worth eating. These are the berries I spend most of the year desperately longing for, except for that glorious two-month span when I can cram them into my mouth at every possible opportunity.
This cobbler lets these perfect in-season berries shine by nestling them beneath a buttery biscuit topping scented with lemon thyme, and baking them until they gently slump into a tangy-sweet saucy mess. It's best served still slightly warm, while the biscuit topping is still toasty and golden brown on top to contrast the softness of the berries.
Granted, it's not the prettiest dessert around, but I assure you that no one will complain... especially if you top if off with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Quick Tip: Lemon thyme can be hard to find. I grow my own, but you may be able to track some down at your local farmers market or higher end grocery stores. If neither of those options pans out, you can substitute with another lemon-scented herb like lemon verbena, lemon balm or lemon basil, or use regular thyme and add a teaspoon of grated lemon zest.
Strawberry Skillet Cobbler with Lemon-Thyme Biscuits
4 cups (~1 lb) strawberries, hulled and halved
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp lemon zest
Lemon Thyme Biscuit Topping:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh lemon thyme
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2/3 cup half and half (10%) cream
Preheat oven to 350F.
Start by preparing the filling. In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt until the berries are evenly coated. Arrange in an even layer in a cast iron skillet. (If you don't have a skillet, an 8x8 baking dish will do just as well.)
Next, prepare the biscuit topping. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, lemon thyme, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture is loose and crumbly. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough just barely comes together. Drop the dough in heaping spoonfuls evenly onto the strawberries.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the biscuit topping is golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving (or more, if you're not a fan of warm cobbler).
Serve as-is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.