Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
Make the topping
In a small ramekin, mix the turbinado sugar and the orange zest until blended and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse briefly to blend, about 10 seconds. Add the butter pieces and pulse until they are the size of small peas, 8 to 10 one-second pulses.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the cornmeal with a spatula. Gently stir in the buttermilk and vanilla until the dough is evenly moistened and begins to form large, soft clumps; don’t overmix or the biscuits will be tough. Refrigerate.
Make the filling
Tip:Cast iron skillets are great, but not for this cobbler; their reactive surface can lend a metallic taste to the finished cobbler. Stick with a nonreactive skillet, such as stainless steel or enamel-lined cast iron.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch nonreactive, ovenproof skillet (8- to 10-cup capacity) over medium-low heat. Add the sugar, cornstarch, cardamom, and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, add the orange juice and bring to a boil.
Add the peaches and cook, stirring gently, until just barely tender, about 3 minutes. Add the blackberries and gently toss until the berries are hot, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Assemble and bake
Spread the fruit into a relatively even layer. Using a 3-tablespoon scoop or a soup spoon, drop the topping in about 8 mounds onto the filling, leaving space between them. With your fingers, distribute the orange-sugar evenly over the biscuits.
Bake until the filling is bubbling and a toothpick inserted in a biscuit comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the filling to settle and thicken before serving.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips