Recently, I reorganized a bit of our galley to make my cookbooks accessible (as opposed to buried deep in an oddly shaped cubby). Having them accessible is great, I can actually use them! But now I find myself gazing wistfully at "Baking with Julia" every time I open my cupboard.
Two nights ago, I pulled it out and flipped through the pages. Gazing at a completely scrumptious johnnycake fruit cobbler, I found myself wondering if one could make johnnycake dumplings...? I liked the sound of johnnycake dumplings so much that I started composing a blog entry in my head immediately, complete with the PRO of not dirtying a pan too much, since dumplings are simply dropped in boiling water.
Alas, I am here to tell you that one definitely cannot make johnnycake dumplings, no matter how endearing the name. But you can make johnnycake pancakes. Or maybe we should call them johnny(pan)cakes. Here goes.
Stovetop Fruit Cobbler
You will need:
4 stalks rhubarb, cleaned and sliced
1/2 green apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 banana, sliced
3 dried apricots, sliced
1/4 cup dried bing cherries, slice each in two
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
2-3 Tablespoons Agave nectar
P.S. You can use other fruit! I used what I had. If you have something different, go for it! Just keep total quantity about the same for four servings.
1) Make the fruit compote first. I made mine early in the day, and then just rewarmed it at dessert time. All you need to do is toss everything in one pot and set it to simmer.
2) Stir occasionally, checking to make sure heat is low enough to prevent burning. If needed, you can add water while cooking. When fruit is very soft and saucy, but apples are still a bit firm, remove from heat.
3) Sweeten to taste with Agave nectar and cover. Done!
Johnny(pan)cake (adapted from Baking with Julia)
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 stick cold (or room temp, mine was) butter, cut into 6 pieces
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used milk mixed with half&half)
1) Mix all dry ingredients together well in a medium bowl.
2) Add the pieces of butter, and toss the butter around to coat each piece with flour. Use a pastry cutter or fork to cut in butter until mixture is uniform and crumbly.
Take that food processor!!
3) Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the cream/milk. Stir to form a soft, moist dough. If it is too dry, slowly add more cream/milk 1 Tablespoon at a time. Let dough rest for a couple minutes.
4) Warm a large pan over medium-low heat and coat pan lightly with butter. Spoon dough into pan to form "dollar pancakes." Cover. When tops begin to just barely set, and you can smell the dough cooking, remove cover and flip. Cook second side uncovered.
5) Hot off the pan, place two johnny(pan)cakes in a bowl and layer with warm fruit compote. Add a third johnny(pan)cake on top, and then a second layer of fruit. I think you could also serve this with cream or milk to pour over, but we didn't, and it was so good we both had two helpings.
PROS: It is a dessert!
CONS: I cannot call them dumplings.