Once upon a time, there was a
housewife mother food-obsessed blogger Princess that lived in a gorgeous area surrounded by the richness of farm fresh abundance. The warm fruits of summer in this idyllic locale were many and varied, yet in the midst of the seasonal heat, the Princess’s thoughts began to wander toward the pumpkins and spice that autumn brings.
Don’t get me wrong, the Princess ate summer’s bounty with enthusiasm. But part of of her heart yearned for the fall harvest. Or t’was the case until the warm days began to temper and shorten. Then the Princess clamored for the fruits that she had previously affronted with her wandering eyes.
“Please! For all that is good and right with the world! Just. One. More. Cobbler!” she cried.
Admittedly, the Princess’s palatte was at times fickle.
But in all fairness, I hear that the Princess spends her days taking care of a gaggle of Young Knights with a penchant for flatulent humor, which is enough to make anyone a bit fanciful at times. Fanciful or not, the Princess was comfortable in her domesticity, and felt strongly about her Cobbler Convictions.
The very same Convictions compelled the Princess to give in to her craving and make a sumptuous Cherry Cobbler. She knew that a couple of the Young Knights in her charge were skeptical of anything pertaining to the Cobbler Persuasion. Still she pressed on, in hopes of winning the favor of the young lads.
She used the finest cherries in the land for the filling; cut the biscuit topping in the shape of teddy bears, all with hope of coaxing even the pickiest of Young Knights to sample her creation. Pleased with her efforts, the Princess offered the first portions to the Young Knights, the majority of whom refused the sweet-tart awesomeness that was her cobbler. No matter. The Princess ate their share with neither haste nor remorse.
Moral of the Story: Young Knights are finicky, and wouldn’t know a great cobbler if it hit them with a jousting lance.
The Other Moral of the Story: Make this cobbler today.
Start with 6 cups of pitted, tart cherries. You can use fresh or frozen cherries for this recipe. I used “flash frozen cherries” from a local farm, so I let them thaw on the counter before using them. You should, too. Just place the frozen cherries into a mesh strainer set over a large bowl. As the cherries thaw, the excess juice will drain off into the bowl.
Straining the cherries is essential so that the cobbler sauce doesn’t end up too thin. Mix a little of the cherry juice with water, and set it aside for the sauce. Be sure to save/freeze the rest of the juice–it’s great in smoothies.
Place the sugar and a dash of salt into a small bowl, then scoop the cornstarch over top. Stir with a fork until the cornstarch is worked into the sugar. Transfer the sugar mixture into a small saucepan.
Slowly pour the cherry juice into the sugar mixture, and whisk it vigorously until smooth. This is the basis for a sauce for the cobbler. But first we need to heat things up a bit.
Heat the sauce ingredients over medium heat, whisking continuously, so the sugar doesn’t scorch to the bottom of the pan. Scorched cobbler can ruin your day.
The sauce mixture may come to a low boil, if it does, turn down the heat just a touch, and keep whisking until the sauce gets really thick.
The sauce should pour off the spoon rather slowly, like warm hot fudge. Remove the sauce from heat. Now I didn’t mess around with the color on this photo at all, so that I could call attention to the natural, ruddy pink color of the sauce. I like the rustic look of it, but if you’d rather the sauce be a more vibrant red, just mix in a few drops of red food coloring at this stage.
Fold the cherries into the sauce, and then spread that sweet-tart deliciousness into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Set the dish aside so you can tend to the biscuit topping.
For the biscuit topping, I made half a batch of Light and Fluffy Biscuits. Because I think they are absolutely perfect. Give ’em a try if for no other reason than to take a trip down memory lane back to the days when I took food photos with my phone. Or go ahead and use your favorite biscuit recipe–you won’t hurt my feelings a bit. Even if that recipe comes in a can or bright yellow box.
However the biscuit dough comes about, roll it to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut with 3-inch-ish biscuit cutters. I say ish because you can really use any size or shape cutter that you want. These teddy bears were a little more than 3-inches.
Lay the biscuits fairly close together, without touching, before brushing the tops with a little milk. The milk will give the biscuits a nice golden brown sheen.
Sprinkle a little coarse (raw) sugar over the milk-brushed biscuits to give them a little crunch and sparkle. Sparkle is good.
Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes, or until the tops of biscuits are nicely browned and done underneath. Allow cobbler to sit for about 5 minutes to cool a bit before serving.
Then serve the cherry cobbler warm, perhaps with a splash of cream or dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Just do yourself a favor–ignore the comments of fickle Young Knights, and give yourself an extra scoop of cobbler.
For the Filling:
6C. tart cherries, pitted
¾ C. cherry juice
¾ C. cold water
1 ¼ C. sugar
4 ½ Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2-3 drops of red food coloring (optional)
For the Biscuit Topping:
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
5 Tbs. very cold, unsalted butter
1 C. 2% milk (more or less—it varies)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Get out a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish.
For the Filling:
- Place pitted cherries into a mesh strainer set over a large bowl to drain. (Frozen cherries may be used, if thawed completely before draining. Measure the frozen cherries after they have thawed.) You should get enough juice for the recipe.
- Mix sugar and cornstarch well in a medium saucepan.
- Combine the cherry juice and cold water in a measuring cup.
- Slowly stir in the juice/water mixture into the sugar mixture in the pan, whisking until smooth.
- Heat the saucepan over medium heat to boiling, stirring constantly, until very thick. (Think of the consistency of hot fudge, and you are there.)
- Remove from heat and fold in the cherries.
- Spread the filling in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish.
- Refrigerate the filled baking dish for about 10 minutes, to cool.
For the Biscuit Topping:
- In a large, bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
- Add very cold butter to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Cut in with a pastry blender or grate through a box grater, until butter is the size of small peas.
- Gradually add ¾ C. of the milk, lightly stirring to combine. Add a little more of the remaining milk until the dough just pulls away from the side of the bowl, without being too wet or overly sticky. (I typically only need about 1 C. of milk, depending on the density of the flour and humidity. I start with ¾ C., then if the dough is still too dry, slowly add about ¼ cup more milk, until dough comes together.)
Now proceed one of two ways:
- TO MAKE A DROP BISCUIT TOPPING: Scoop biscuit dough with a large spoon, and plop dough balls onto the cherry filling OR
- TO MAKE A ROLLED BISCUIT TOPPING: Turn dough out onto a clean and lightly floured work surface or pastry mat. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Then, flatten the dough into a 1 inch thick rectangle. Gently knead the dough by folding it onto itself and lightly flattening into another rectangle. Repeat this process 5 times. It is important to have a light touch, and not to over work dough or biscuits will be tough. Slow and gentle is the key.
- Pat or roll the kneaded dough into a large rectangle, ½ inch tall.
- Using a 3 inch diameter biscuit or cookie cutter to push straight down through the dough to cut biscuits. Do not turn the biscuit cutter, or biscuits will not rise as well. Also, cut the biscuits as close together as possible.
- Piece together remaining dough, and repeat the process until all of the dough is used.
- Gently place cut biscuits 1-inch apart on top of the filling.
- Brush the tops of the biscuits with a little milk, and sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar.
- Bake the cobbler for about 15 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are puffy and begin to turn golden brown around the edges, and filling is bubbling.
- Let cobbler rest for 5 minutes before serving warm. Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, if desired.