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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sour Cherry Cobbler (with adjustments for altitude)

For the last few summers a friend has generously shared the harvest from her sour cherry tree with me. This is one of the joys of the season.


Sour Cherry Cobbler (with adjustments for altitude)

Source: Cook's Illustrated
Serves: 12--however I halved the recipe and cooked enough for 6

For altitudes of around 4000-5800 feet I suggest the following adjustments to the biscuits:

add 2 T flour
subtract 1 teas sugar
use a scant teas baking soda

For the biscuits:

2 c unbleached flour
6 T granulated sugar
1/2 teas baking powder
1/2 teas baking soda
1/2 teas table salt
6 T unsalted butter (cold), cut into half-inch cubes
2 T granulated sugar for sprinkling
1 c buttermilk

For the fruit filling:

4 pds sour cherries, (about 8 cups)
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
3 1/2 T cornstarch
pinch table salt
1 c dry red wine
cranberry juice (if needed)
1 3-in cinnamon stick
1/4 teas almond extract

Prepare cherries:

Pit the cherries and reserve the juices. Stir sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl; add the cherries and stir again until well combined. Pour the red wine over the cherries and allow to stand for 30 minutes at least.

Par cook the biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 425F with the rack in the middle position. Use a silicone baking pad or parchment paper to line a baking sheet.

In a food processor place flour, 6 T sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and pulse until combined. Add the butter cubes evenly over the top and pulse about 15 times until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Place this mixture into a bowl and pour the buttermilk over. Toss with a rubber spatula until combined. Divide the dough into 12 equal biscuits on the baking sheet. This is easiest using a 1 1/2 inch spring-loaded ice cream scoop but can be achieved using a couple of serving spoons. Space them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until lightly browned on top and bottom. Remove from oven and set aside. Leave oven on.

Make the cobbler:

Pour cherry mixture into a colander set over another medium-sized bowl and drain. Measure the drained and reserved juices; you should have collected 3 cups. If the combined juices don't equal that amount add cranberry juice. (I used some raspberry juice and think you could also use grape juice in a pinch.) Place the juices into a saucepan, add the cinnamon stick, and heat over medium-high and cook until mixture thickens, whisking frequently. When thickened remove cinnamon stick, add the almond extract.

Spread the drained cherries into a  9X13 pan. Pour the hot, thickened juices over the cherries in the pan and use a spatula to even it out. Place the biscuits on top of the cherries and filling in 3 rows of 4 each. Place the cobbler in the oven and bake until biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 10-15 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes before serving.


If you are going to use frozen, pitted cherries you need less than 4 pounds, closer to 3 1/2 pounds.

It was late one night when I first started this recipe and I hadn't realized the resting time for the cherries so I mixed the cherries and sauce and and rested them in the refrigerator not for 30 minutes but overnight. This worked fine.

My food processor bowl has to be washed by hand so I get lazy about using it sometimes. I have found that I can grate well chilled or frozen butter into the dry ingredients of this biscuit and mix all together with a fork. I think it works just as well and the bowl and grater can go into the dishwasher.

Cook's Illustrated suggests using a glass baking pan. I can't see why it's necessary and found my metal pan worked fine.

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