Virginia Willis’ Strawberries and Cream Cobbler

Southern Kitchen

Virginia Willis’ Strawberries and Cream Cobbler

Serves: 8 to 10

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of fine sea salt

1 cup whole milk

Clotted cream, whipped cream, or ice cream, for serving, optional 


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the vanilla bean seeds. Using a rubber spatula, stir until completely smooth.

Place the butter in a large cast iron skillet or ovenproof baking dish. Bake until the butter is lightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully pour the browned butter into the batter; stir to combine.

Pour the batter all at once into the skillet, then scatter the strawberries over the batter. Quickly dot the top of the cobbler with the cream cheese mixture. Pop it in the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the batter comes out clean, about 1 hour. Serve, hot, warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, clotted cream or ice cream, if desired.

Photo: Virginia Willis

About the recipe

This strawberries-and-cream-inspired cobbler recipe from Virginia Willis is full of flavor-boosting tricks. Most cobbler recipes call for simple melted butter, or else a crumbly topping. Here, she’s browned the butter — an easy way to add complexity to just about any dessert. And to make sure the cobbler still evoked the experience of eating a bowl of strawberries and cream, she adds in dollops of cream cheese — mixed with a bit of sugar and vanilla bean seeds to temper its tanginess —  along with the berries. 

As the cobbler bakes, the strawberries burst and collapse and the cream cheese sinks into the brown butter batter. The resulting dessert is sweet and luscious — absolute glorious excess.