Summer stone fruit season is the perfect time to make this Cherry Almond Cobbler

Cherry Almond Cobbler. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Cherry Almond Cobbler. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
Published July 24 2018

You know the saying: When life hands you a bag of cherries, make cobbler.

Itís the season for these stone fruit beauties, and while they work in a ton of recipes both savory and sweet, I wanted to take things in a more dessert-y direction this week.

I was inspired by my favorite dessert growing up: cherry pie. Store-bought crust, big can of Duncan Hines cherry filling ó delicious.

This cobbler achieves that same sort of gorgeous jammy cherry vibe, with fresh cherries that are tossed with sugar and then baked under a crust made with ground almonds, cornmeal and a little bit of flour. Itís different but just familiar enough.

You could actually use many different fruits in this recipe, especially other stone fruits: peaches, plums or nectarines. Simply remove the pits and cut the fruit into medium chunks, then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

When the cobbler is done cooking, take it out of the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes so the sugary fruit juices can congeal a bit. But donít let it cool completely ó this is best served slightly warm. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for maximum enjoyment.

A couple of tricks for this recipe:

Pitting cherries: If you cook with cherries a lot, or want to, itís totally worth your while to invest in a cherry pitter. I bought one from the brand OXO on Amazon for less than $15. Itís a really handy tool. If you donít have one, try to improvise. I found a wide and sturdy plastic straw in my drawer that was the perfect size to push the pits out. And be mindful of the process: Make sure youíre actually getting the pits out, because the last thing you want to do is bite into those hard suckers in the middle of your cobbler.

Almond meal: Sold at specialty grocery stores, almond meal is basically almonds ground up really fine to resemble a coarse flour. If you canít find it, or donít want to buy a whole bag (it can be expensive), no problem: Pop a cup of whole almonds in a food processor and whiz them around for a couple of minutes until they are ground up. Any larger pieces of almonds remaining will only add texture. Measure out the Ĺ cup needed for the recipe and use the rest atop ice cream, oatmeal or as a breading for chicken tenders.

Buttermilk: I pretty much solely use this hack for making buttermilk, instead of committing to buying a whole container of it. Introducing lemon juice to regular milk will help it curdle slightly, producing that tangy signature buttermilk flavor. To make, squeeze 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice into 1 cup of regular milk, then let it sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before using.

Cherry Almond Cobbler

1 Ĺ pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted, about 4 cups

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

ľ teaspoon almond extract

For the topping:

Ĺ cup whole wheat pastry flour, or sifted whole wheat flour

Ĺ cup almond meal

Ĺ cup fine cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

Ĺ teaspoon baking soda

ľ cup sugar

ľ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into Ĺ-inch pieces

? cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Place the cherries in a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon juice, all-purpose flour and almond extract. Carefully mix them together with a rubber spatula or a large spoon until sugar and flour have dissolved.

Transfer to the baking dish, making sure to scrape out all of the liquid in the bowl.

Sift all of the dry ingredients for the topping. If some of the cornmeal and almond flour remain in the sifter, just dump them into the bowl with the sifted flours. Place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse to cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Turn on the food processor and pour in the buttermilk with the machine running. As soon as the dough comes together, stop the machine.

Spoon the topping over the cherries by the heaped spoonful. The cherries should be just about covered but may show here and there. Place in the oven and bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is nicely browned and the cherries are bubbling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to warm before serving. Serve warm. (Heat in a low oven if necessary before serving.)

Source: Adapted from the New York Times