When it comes to fruit based dessert - the cobbler is high on my list.
It's easier to make that pie and tastes just as good - maybe even better. I like the fruit to dough ratio in a cobbler.
Cobbler got it's name because the ingredients are "cobbled" together. The word "cobble" means "to put together clumsily". It's not a fancy or fussy dessert. Although it's not fancy it can be full of flavor even the proper ingredients are used.
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits to cobble so they are the topic of this post.
Choose Tart Cherries
It all starts with the cherries. They need to taste good. And for the best results they need to be tart cherries. These cherries provide the most flavor as well as the tartness to balance out all the sugar.
Fresh tart cherries would be best, but most poeple won't have access to them. Here in Michigan we grow the most tart cherries in the country, so every July I can get a hold of a lot. Frozen will have to be the option for the majority. You can still use sweet cherries, try to pick them when they are in peak season for the best results. Ask for a taste test when you are in the store.
Use Good Brown Sugar
Flour, butter, and sugar is what makes up the topping for the cobbler. Where you can really make a difference in the end result is selecting good brown sugar.
Did you know you can make your own brown sugar at home in a food processor (read my post on homemade brown sugar)? Homemade brown sugar tastes so much better than store bought.
Another option would be to use Muscovado Sugar. This is a natural unrefined sugar that has hints of caramel in it's flavor. It's the only thing better than homemade brown sugar.
Demerara Sugar on Top
I like to sprinkle Demerara Sugar on top. This is a sugar (most people know it has Sugar in the Raw) that doesn't dissolve in the oven, so it leaves a nice little crunch on the top of the cobbler.
Thicken the Filling
The last thing I want is a messy cherry cobbler. To prevent that trouble I recommend mixing some potato starch or better yet tapioca flour with the cherries to help thicken the liquid they release as they cook.
A lot of recipes call for corn starch but I think adds a flavor to the fruit that I would rather not have.
For the topping
For the filling
- 1 quart tart cherries
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 3 teaspoons potato starch or tapioca flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the cherries, starch or flour, and sugar in a square baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and flour. Add the butter. Using your hands rub the butter into the sugar/flour mix until it's the texture of cornmeal.
- Evenly distribute the topping on the cherries. Sprinkle on some demerara sugar on top (optional)
- Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the topping has browned and the fruit is thicken. Allow to cool until the fruit sets up before serving. Can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature.
To learn more about different types of baked fruit desserts, read my post on What is the Difference Between a Cobbler and a Crisp?