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Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is so darn tart that it’s usually paired with a sweeter buddy, like the strawberry, in an effort to temper its tang. Try to find field-grown rhubarb. Darker in color, it has a much shorter season than the hothouse variety (late winter to early summer) but is more flavorful. In England rhubarb is often paired with ginger, so for a surprise crunch, I added some crystallized ginger to the biscuit topping of this springtime dessert from Sara Moulton Cooks at Home.
For the cobbler:
2 pints strawberries, rinsed and quartered
1 pound rhubarb, 4 to 5 large stalks, peeled and cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into slivers
For the topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup very finely chopped crystallized ginger
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
To prepare the cobbler, place the strawberries and rhubarb in a large, heavy saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir over high heat until the sugar has started to dissolve, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until the fruit has exuded some of its liquid, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the fruit and all liquid with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, the flour, lemon zest, and salt. Cool slightly, pour into a lightly buttered 2-quart baking dish, and dot with slivers of butter.
To make the topping, preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingertips to mix in the ginger and to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles the texture of small peas. Quickly stir in the buttermilk to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a well-floured work surface, knead into a ball, and roll out to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter (or wide-mouth jar or glass) to cut out 4 biscuits. Gather the trimmings and roll out again. Cut out 2 more biscuits.
Arrange the biscuits snugly over the fruit. Brush lightly with additional buttermilk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until the cobbler is bubbly and the biscuits are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
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