Monday, September 3, 2012

Cherry Peach Cobbler

Cherries have been one of my favorite treats since I was a little girl. I was gazing at them, fondly, in the grocery store the other day, when my sister told me she thought they were gross. I was like, "What?" "What?!" "WHAT??!!" She just stands there. "They're gross." (just imagine her voice. She has the California Valley Girl accent, for those of you who remember that) JK, she doesn't really. But she seriously doesn't like cherries. I mean, who. doesn't. like. cherries?
When I was a kid I always loved those chocolate covered cherries,
you know with all the juicy corn-starchy stuff inside, oozing out when you take a bite, and then there is the little round piece of cherry inside of there that you have to quickly suck out or all of that delicious syrupy concoction will get all over you face and hands. You know what I'm talking about, right?
When I was working at a coffee shop I made myself a drink with cherry syrup. Big mistake. Somehow, cherry syrup only translates in my brain as NyQuil. And that was exactly what it tasted like. Exactly.
I love cherry pie, and a friend of mine makes these cherry square things that are super good. I like cherry topping on my cheesecake and little, mini, cherry hand-pies.
Another cherry item that I have discovered that is not good, however, is cherry ice cream. Black cherry ice cream.
When I was a kid we would go to this grocery store called Thrifty's, and they sold ice cream by the scoop. It was really a treat. I remember I asked for the black cherry ice cream, and eagerly began eating my scoop. I stopped. Bleh. It was bitter. I felt like crying. Here was my chance at some ice cream and I had picked something that was gross. Who even knew ice cream could ever be gross?? And it wasn't like I could get another one, that wouldn't fly with my parents at ALL. So I was stuck eating it. The only gross ice cream ever. I tell you what, though. I have never made that mistake again. I still have a hard time buying any ice cream that says cherry is in it. What's funny is, it's probably not even that bad, but I just have those horrible, scarring memories.

While cherries are still in season you are going to want to make this cobbler. I should have posted it sooner so you could have it at your get together today, but my kids have been sick, and that means I have quadruple the work. The recipe from Epicurious calls for any combination of stone fruit, and they even suggest using fruits that don't have to be peeled, to save you on time. I find that this is the perfect thing to make when someone unexpectedly gives you a bunch of fruit from their backyard tree. It is so yummy, and I absolutely adore the addition of almond extract. It has become a new favorite of mine, and I put it in everything from chocolate frosting to pancakes.
One of my favorite combinations is cherry and peaches. I don't even know why, but it just comes together so beautifully, and everyone in the house gets excited when this is cooking in the oven. You can also make these individually, like I did here, although no normal-sized human can eat portions this large. Except my husband.

Cherry Peach Cobbler
(adapted from Epicurious)
For filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2  pounds cherries, pitted
1 1/2 pounds peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (8 cups)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

For topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (not stone-ground)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Rounded 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons sugar

Make filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter a 3-qt glass or ceramic baking dish.
Toss together filling ingredients in a large bowl. Spread out in baking dish and bake until just bubbling, 10 to 20 minutes. Make the topping while filling bakes: Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt, then blend in butter with  a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 cup cream and stir just until a dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly dust with flour, then roll out with a floured rolling pin to 1/2-inch-thick. Cut out biscuits with lightly floured cutter. If necessary, gather scraps and reroll once, then cut out more biscuits.
Arrange biscuits 1/2 inch apart over hot filling. Brush tops with remaining Tbsp cream, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake until topping is golden and fruit is bubbling in center, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to warm, 30 minutes.

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