Active Time: 25 Mins
Total Time: 50 Mins
Yield: Serves 8 to 10

There are all kinds of tricks for light, fluffy biscuits, but adding ricotta might not have been one you’ve heard of before. The cheese adds a richness to the top of this cobbler, as well as being an excellent way to soak up all that delicious juice released from the pears as they cook. The result is a cobbler with a crispy brown top, a flavorful biscuit middle, and a stew of perfectly spiced brandy-stewed pears at the bottom. 


  • 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (such as Swans Down), plus more for working surface
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
  • 2 1/2 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

Step 1

Drain ricotta in a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer 30 minutes. When ready to use, squeeze out any excess moisture. Stir thyme into ricotta; set aside.

Step 2

Stir together baking powder, baking soda, cake flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the salt into a large bowl; transfer to freezer to chill 20 minutes. Add chilled butter to bowl, and pinch pieces between your fingers to make smaller pieces until no big pieces are left. Make a well in middle of cake flour mixture. Gradually pour in 1 cup of the buttermilk while using a fork to fluff in the flour from sides of bowl until a shaggy-looking dough forms. Crumble in the thyme-ricotta, and gently incorporate with your fingers.

Step 3

Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, shape dough into a 6- x 4-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds, and flatten back out with hands; repeat 2 more times, flattening dough to about 1-inch thick. Chill for 20 minutes.

Step 4

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss together pears and lemon juice in a large bowl; stir in melted butter and brandy. Whisk together all-purpose flour, brown sugar, ginger, allspice, and remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a separate bowl. Slowly stir all-purpose flour mixture into pear mixture until evenly combined. Transfer spiced pear filling to a 17- x 11-inch baking dish.

Step 5

Roll chilled biscuit dough out on a lightly floured surface; cut into 2-inch squares or circles, making 10 to 12 biscuits. Arrange biscuits in a single layer over pear filling. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk on top of biscuits. Bake in preheated oven until pear mixture is bubbling and biscuits are browned on top, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and black pepper; serve warm or at room temperature.

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