Bing cherries have been popping up in my supermarket for a reasonable price already this year. They’ve been really good too – dark red and firm. Usually, it’s all I can do to restrain myself from eating them all “as-is” – but I do like to bake with them when possible. And muddling is always fun, and there’s no better reward than these fresh cherry margaritas.
A couple weeks ago, I headed over to the Opportunity Shop on the island. It’s a thrift store that is run by one of our local churches. We were at our weekly lunch excursion to Mom’s, and I left the boys with her to walk over to the thrift store, for a few blessed minutes alone. I always find my favorite props and old table linens there. And, on this occasion – I got an awesome stash of cookbooks. 2 of Giada’s cookbooks, an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook (Restaurant Favorites at Home), and also this Wolfgang Puck cookbook. We went home, the boys took a nap, and I enjoyed a cup of tea and my new cookbooks in peace. When I came across Wolfgang’s recipe for fresh cherry cobbler – I knew that it had to happen. I had just enough cherries in the fridge, so I made it for dessert that very night.
It was absolutely delicious. Often with cherry desserts, the flavor is so artificial. Not the case here! Every bite was bursting with the flavor or fresh cherries, only intensified because they’d been baked. And the cobbler topping just soaks up all the juices that were exuded during the baking process. Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it really was Heaven.
My only complaint was the cobbler topping though. Not really a fan of the fact that you roll it out, then cut squares. Next time I’ll probably cut a cute shape out with a cookie cutter. Or maybe just do a crumbled cobbler topping – there’s something about that rustic look that I just love. Regardless, this was a wonderful dessert that I’m definitely looking forward to making again when cherry season is in full swing!
Fresh Cherry Cobbler
For the topping:
2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup heavy cream
For the filling:
2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
1/4 cup honey, mild flavored such as clover or orange blossom
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Kirsch (I used my DIY strawberry vodka)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus butter for the pan
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting
Good-quality vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
Make the shortcake topping. Put the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade; pulse a few time to combine. Add the chilled butter and pulse the machine several times until the butter is chopped up into small pieces the size of gravel. With the motor running, pour the cream through the feed tube; stop processing the moment the dough barely begins to form. With a lightly floured rolling pin, gently press or roll out the dough to an 8-inch square. With a sharp knife, neatly trim the edges of the square, then cut it into 8 equal squares. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, transfer the squares to the baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until needed.
Pre-heat the oven to 375. In a medium bowl, stir together the cherries, honey, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Dissolve the cornstarch in the lemon juice and Kirsch, and stir into the cherry mixture. Mix thoroughly. Grease and 8×8 baking dish with soft butter. Pour the fruit mixture into the buttered pan. Dot the surface with the chilled butter.
Arrange chilled shortcake squares neatly on top of the filling in the pan. Brush the shortcake with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Bake in the preheated oven until the shortcake is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it settle at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
To serve, use a large spoon to transfer each square of shortcake and the filling beneath it to an individual dessert plate. Dust with powdered sugar, and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.
Source: adapted from “Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy” by Wolfgang Puck