I just got out the July/Aug '96 Cooks Illustrated issue to make a cobbler from rhubarb and strawberries that have been hibernating in the freezer since last summer. The article featured 4 different types of topping: butter cookie dough, batter, rich shortcake biscuit, and pastry. I've never made the latter 2 but the first 2 are favorites. Note that the batter recipe was seriously misprinted (a rare glitch for CI), and corrected in a later issue - wouldn't you know, the one time they goof, I choose THAT recipe, although I thought the amounts were odd. I wound up with a buttery pudding. Correctly made, this is a great fruit dessert if you want to bake but have run out of eggs. The correct recipe, which is effortless and good:
BATTER-STYLE FRUIT COBBLER
6 T unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
3/4 c each AP flour, sugar, and milk
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 c sliced fruit or berries
Middle rack of oven, preheated to 350. Put butter into 8"sq or 9"round pan and set into oven to melt. Meanwhile, whisk together dry ingredients, then whisk in the milk till blended.
Remove pan from oven and pour batter into the pan without mixing it into the butter. Arrange the fruit evenly over the batter, and sprinkle with an additional Tbsp of sugar. Bake until browned, 40-50 min. ( I use a 7x11 pan, bumping up the butter to a whole stick and the milk, flour, and sugar to 1 c each, with a heaping tsp baking powder - so this is one recipe that's permanently in my head.)
The other one, which I prefer, is:
COOKIE DOUGH FRUIT COBBLER
1/2 c AP flour
1/4 t baking powder
8 T butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 large egg or 1 yolk
1/4 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 375. Mix and set aside the dry ingredients. Cream butter and sugar, beat in egg and vanilla, then stir in the dry ingredients till combined.
Use about 2 pints of berries and/or sliced fruit, or 24 oz defrosted frozen. Mix into the fruit about 1 T cornstarch for berries, 1-1/2 T for sour cherries, but only 2 t for other fruit. Add 1/3 to 1/2 c sugar, depending on type and tartness of fruit. 1 t vanilla, 1/2 t almond extract, 1/2 t cinnamon, and/or liqueur, depending on fruit and your preference.
Put fruit mixture into 8"sq or 9" round pan, drop dough onto fruit by heaping Tbsps, bake 45-55 min.
Note: This recipe is forgiving - I have used 1/3 c white whole wheat flour plus 1/3 c almond meal, bumping up the baking powder to a heaping 1/4 t, and using a whole egg.