This is such a wonderful time for fresh berries and cherries. We spotted some sweet cherries on sale at our local grocery store last week and grabbed a couple bags. My original plan was to make some cherry vanilla ice cream, but then I thought of cherry cobbler with all the lush cherries and juice and the soft, fluffy biscuits on top. Serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream and that would hit the spot.
When we got around to making the cobbler a few days later, the boys helped me remove the stems and find any bad cherries, of which there were plenty. Actually the cherries weren’t bad, but I realized that my three-year-old had been sneaking into the bags in the frig and taking bites out of the cherries and putting them back, just like he had done with the hot rolls back in April! We had to toss about a dozen half-eaten cherries.
This recipe adapts a cherry filling recipe from Epicurious and pairs it with my favorite way to make easy drop biscuits. I use a combination of sweet and tart cherries because for some reason it’s difficult to find tart cherries in our area, fresh or frozen. I buy jars of tart cherries from Trader Joe’s, but it’s not quite the same.I like the flavor of the two cherries together and the stove top method for cooking down the cherries before baking. And as you may or may not know, I like White Lily Flour for my biscuits, as any Southern woman should, because the biscuits turn out so light and fluffy. If you can’t find White Lily Flour in your area, just use 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1 cup cake flour, which should approximate the texture.
[Updated August 3, 2012.]
Cherry filling adapted from Epicurious.
large sauce pan
2-quart casserole dish
large mixing bowl
1 cup (175 g) granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups (560 g) fresh or thawed-from-frozen pitted tart cherries
4 cups (560 g) fresh or thawed-from-frozen pitted sweet cherries
1 tablespoon Frangelico
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups (240 g) White Lily Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (44 g) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (71 g) unsalted butter, melted then slightly cooled
2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk, cold
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted (optional)
cinnamon sugar mixture (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.
***While the oven preheats***
2. FILLING: In the saucepan whisk together sugar and cornstarch. Add cherries, liqueur, vanilla, and cinnamon and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes and transfer to the casserole dish.
3. BISCUITS: In the mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Pour the melted butter into the measuring glass with the cold buttermilk and stir until the butter forms small pieces and floats in the milk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture into the well, folding the dry ingredients into the liquid just until the dry ingredients are wet. The mixture will start to poof and rise, so work quickly.
4. ASSEMBLE: Use the scoop to form the biscuits and drop them over the cherries, spacing apart. Brush dough with melted butter and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough. (optional) You may have some dough left over, and you can just drop those biscuits onto a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes.
5. BAKE: Bake in the preheated oven until the cherries are bubbling and the biscuits are golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool until the cobbler is just warm, not too hot. Serve with vanilla ice cream.