Juicy red fresh cherry filling, with a buttery cake and a cinnamon sugar topping, this eggless cobbler is a delight and it can easily be made with other fruits as well.
Summer! Where I live, Summer is not something you wait for. Its months of unbearable sun bearing down for 8 hours a day, sapping you of all energy and rendering you basically incapable of wanting to do much. But if I have to look for proverbial silver lining, I’ll say it’s the bounty of fresh fruits that the season brings. Mangoes, cherries, litchis, plums, java plums (Jamun) – it’s a stone fruit fest! We love our fruits and we ensure there’s enough to go around in the house at all times. But the baker in me by default starts to think of all the possibilities with all this seasonal produce and oh there’s plenty! There’s hardly a recipe I haven’t tried with one or the other variety of stone fruits – cakes, tarts, galettes, pies, crumbles, crisps – you name it! But amongst my favorite things to eat has to be a cobbler. A warm juicy fruit filling topped with a cakey shortbread and dollops of cold vanilla ice cream! Yum!! Now, who has a problem with summer?! If this is your first time making a cobbler, let’s first understand –
WHAT IS A COBBLER? IS IT THE SAME AS A CRUMBLE?
Similar to pie, a cobbler is a baked dessert consisting of a fruit filling and a topping. However, while a pie typically has a top and bottom crust, a cobbler doesn’t. A crumble too has the same structure as a cobbler – baked fruit with a topping. But while a crumble topping is a thin streusel like layer consisting of flour + sugar + butter and sometimes oats, a cobbler is defined by a more cakey-biscuity top.
FRESH CHERRY COBBLER
While both are amazing dishes, the buttery topping of this cobbler compliments the natural tartness of cherries quite well. Fresh cherries in season are the best to use to make this. Try and pick out ripe, red fruit when buying. I used Kashmiri sweet cherries to make this. If you can get your hands on Turkish cherries, do use those as they’re sweeter and juicier. If you have to use canned cherries, make sure to adjust the level of sugar depending on how sweet the canned cherries already are.
USING OTHER FRUITS
Cobblers are not limited to cherries or even to stone fruits. You can use plums, peaches, apricots, blueberries, apples, pears, raisins, or a combination of any of these. Certain fruits require to be cooked for a bit to prepare them for baking. For eg., peaches or pears. So you put them in a pan with the sugar and butter and let them soften for 5-8 minutes before transferring to your baking dish. Since cherries are soft and bake quickly, I’ve added them directly here.
The recipe uses sugar in 3 parts – for the fruit, the batter and brown sugar for the topping. It may seem like a lot of sugar but each component needs it separately. If your fruit is too sour, you may need to add more. If it’s sweet, you can even reduce the quantity. The cinnamon-brown sugar topping gives a wonderful crispy texture to the cobbler so even though it’s optional, don’t skip it. You can use caster or raw sugar in place of the brown sugar too.
Admittedly, the hardest part of this recipe, and any other recipe that involves cherries is pitting them. Those little seeds start to seem like a mountainous task that no one wants to conquer. A cherry pitter makes life much easier but if don’t own one, and are a lazy person like I am, here’s a trick I recently discovered for pitting cherries and am wondering why I didn’t know it for all these years. All you need is a simple drinking straw and a plate. Put the plate on a flat surface. Take a cherry and place it in the center of the plate. Push your straw down into the middle of the fruit. The seed will push through the other end of the fruit and come out. It’s quick and neat and works great! Genius right? I wonder who thought of this hack (psst – it’s not me!) Now that the hard work is out of the way, this fresh cherry cobbler is a really simple recipe. You begin by preparing the fruit. Take your pitted and cleaned cherries in a bowl. Add to it sugar, lemon juice, and a little cornflour which helps to bind the juices that release during the baking. As mentioned above, if your fruit is sweet, reduce the quantity of sugar in this step. If it’s tart, add more as required. Transfer this to your baking pan/bowl. A deep dish baking tray works best for this – ceramic, or glass will make your dish look more appetizing, specially if you plan to serve this cobbler during a meal time or at the table. If you make in metal baking pan, you can remove individual portions during serving in a different bowl/plate. I used a 7″ x 11″ dish but a more or less similar size will work too. Pour a tablespoon of melted butter over the fruit and set the pan aside.
MAKING THE BATTER
The batter for this cobbler is a really simple one requiring few ingredients. The butter needs to be cold. I measure butter right out of the refrigerator, cut into small cubes and place it in the refrigerator 10 minutes before starting. Milk can be cold or at room temperature. To make the batter, you start by mixing flour, sugar, and baking powder. Next you add the cold butter. Using your fingers, crumble all the butter into the flour till it starts to resemble a sand-like texture. The idea of using fingertips is to prevent the warmth of your palms from melting the butter. Next tip in the vanilla and start adding the milk little by little till the dough is moistened and like a very thick batter. If you feel you need to add less milk, that’s fine too. More milk will make this more like a cake, less milk will make it more like shortbread so work according to your preference. Spread the batter over the cherries in the baking dish. There’s no need to even it out as such. Let it naturally spread a little. Even if it goes between the cherries a little that’s fine. Next top the batter with a a cinnamon powder-brown sugar mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Te baking time is longer than a regular cake because the fruit takes time to cook down. The best thing to do during this time is to periodically check the oven because you’ll see the fruit bubbling on the sides of your dish and it looks just so pretty! To check if it’s done, you can use a toothpick but ensure you only insert it half way to test the cake part of the cobbler. If it goes into the fruit it will anyway be covered in juices and may lead you to think that it needs more baking time. It should come out looking golden and smelling divine! You see the burnt edges? That’s my favorite part of eating the cobbler. Once you try it, you’ll agree! Let the cobbler cool a bit before serving. To store it for later, transfer the cobbler to an airtight container or save it in the baking pan itself. Cover with cling film once it comes to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. You can eat it cold or warm it up a bit in the microwave before eating. I love a warm cobbler so I just wait long enough to be able to handle the pan. I then top it up with a huge dollop of vanilla ice-cream or sometimes a bit of whipped cream on the side. Pure joy! Try this while the cherries are still in season. Hit me up on Instagram if you make this. For measurements and conversions, do refer the ready reckoner for a quick handy guide!
OTHER RECIPES WITH FRUIT YOU MAY LIKE
- Quick Apple Crumble
- Ginger, Pear & Walnut Cake
- Upside Down Apple Cake
- Oats-Blueberry Muffins
- Banoffee Pie Cups
- Mango Shortbread Bars
Eggless Fresh Cherry Cobbler
FOR THE CHERRY FILLING
- 2½ cups Fresh Cherries
- ½ cup Caster Sugar
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Cornflour
- 1 tbsp Butter melted
FOR THE BATTER
- 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Caster Sugar
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- ⅓ cup Butter (cold, cut into cubes)
- ½ cup Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
FOR THE TOPPING
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar
- ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
FOR THE CHERRY FILLING
- Wash, stem and pit the cherries. Put them in a bowl, and add sugar, lemon juice, cornflour. Transfer the cherries to a deep baking dish. – approx 7" x 11". Top with melted butter.
FOR THE BATTER
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degree C.
- In a bowl, mix all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder.
- Add cold, cubed butter in the flour, and using your fingertips, crumble the butter with the flour mix till it resembles a sand-like texture.
- Add the vanilla and the milk and mix it all together. It needs to be a very thick batter or if you prefer a more crumbly cobbler, you could reduce the milk and let it be cookie dough consistency. Drop this dough/batter on top of the cherries.
FOR THE TOPPING
- Mix 2 tsp of brown sugar with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder. Top your baking pan with this mixture.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes till the cobbler turns a golden-brown color. Let it cool a bit, then serve warm with vanilla ice-cream.