One of the best things about local farmer market in the summer is that I never know what fruits or vegetables that I will find. Last week, I ran into two gorgeous pints of sour cherries sitting on a back of a pick up truck. Now, I have to admit that I have never worked with sour cherries before, but I know that they are hard to find and are usually only available for like two or three weeks period in June. I decided to get one pint and try if I can make a cobbler out of it.
Cobbler recipes are usually a hit and miss. As a matter of fact, I haven’t really had a cobbler that I would categorize as perfect… the biscuit toppings are usually either too crumbly, dry, or too soggy after sitting on a bed of sliced fruits. But I can say that this one actually exceeded my expectation… this is THE cobbler recipe that I would consider a perfection. I could taste the bright and slightly tart flavor of the cherries, with just a slight or sweetness from the sugar, and loved the consistency of the fruit compote. The biscuit topping… wow, now those are incredible! Since they are baked somehow seperately at first, they did not turn soggy even after sitting on top of the fruit compote.
Now I really wish that I could rewind the time and pick up both pints of those sour cherries. I only made half of the recipe since that’s all the fruits that I had available, and we ate them every night for three day with vanilla gelato, and each time… savoring the flavor that really seemed to develop even better each day! This is definitely my new perfect summer dessert, and has turned me into sour cherry addict. I’d definitely be in the lookout for more sour cherries in my future trips to the farmer market.
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 6 tbsp for sprinkling
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
A pinch salt
4 lbs of fresh sour cherries, pitted, approx. 8 cups –juices reserved
1 cup dry red wine
Cranberry juice (if needed)
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp almond extract
Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl; add cherries and toss well to combine. Pour wine over cherries; let stand 30 minutes. Drain cherries in colander set over medium bowl. Combine drained and reserved juices (from pitting cherries), there should be approximately 3 cups. If not add enough cranberry juice to equal to 3 cups.
While cherries macerate, prepare and make the biscuit topping.
In a work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, pulse flour, 6 tbsp of sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Scatter butter pieces over and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl; add buttermilk and toss with rubber spatula to combine. Using 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inch spring-loaded ice-cream scoop, scoop 12-biscuits onto baking sheet, spacing them 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. Sprinkle biscuits evenly with 2 tbsp sugar and bake until lightly browned on tops and bottom, about 15 minutes.
Spread drained cherries in even layer in 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Bring liquid and cinnamon sticks to simmer in medium non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick, stir in almond extract, and pour hot liquid over cherries in a baking dish.
Arrange hot biscuits in 3 rows of 4 over warm filling. Bake cobbler until filling is bubbling and biscuits are deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes, serve.
Yield: 12 servings