Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Cherry Cobbler for Two
The 4th of July isn't about fireworks or parades for me; it's about tart cherries. That's when the season begins, and I start the hunt for the gorgeous red fruits that are only available for a few short weeks each summer.
I'm so infamous for my love of the beautiful cherries that my loved ones also take it upon themselves to engage in the search. While I'm at work during the various farmers' market times, they all go out on reconnaissance missions to see what's available. Are the Montmorencies (traditional pie cherries which are bright red) at their peak, or are the Balatons (a darker and slightly sweeter variety of tart cherry) now ready? Then, if the prize is found, there are the text messages and phone calls to inquire how many quarts - yes, quarts! - I want.
Each of us has our own summer traditions. Other people go camping or have family reunions. I sit outside and remove the stones from hundreds of cherries with my late grandmother's cherry pitter. It's relaxing - almost meditative. And there is supreme satisfaction in baking with cherries that one has prepared oneself, rather than merely opening an inferior can of pie filling.
Whether you use frozen or jarred cherries, or invest the time to pit your own fresh ones, do please find a way to make this recipe. It's quick, it's simple, and it's such a perfect summer treat! There's just a hint of almond shining through to enhance the cherries, and the fruit's sweet-tart combination is an ideal complement to the light cake-like topping.
This was an ideal dessert to share with Tom one recent weekend evening, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Yes, he's back! We're either utter fools or hopeless romantics ... we're in favor of the latter. Some things are just a matter of bashert [bah-SHAYRT], which is Hebrew for "destiny." So today we're celebrating our 19 month anniversary ... :)
Individual Cherry Cobblers
(adapted from Marcia Adams' Cooking From Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens)
2 cups pitted sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease two 1-1/4 cup ramekins, and place onto a baking sheet.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the cherries; divide among the ramekins.
In the same bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; with a fork, mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the egg and the half-and-half until well combined; divide among the ramekins and spread the batter to the edges of the ramekins (but the cherries don't need to be fully covered).
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon brown sugar over each ramekin.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream as an accompaniment.
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