CHERRY COBBLER DAY
May 17th is Cherry Cobbler Day here in the United States. May is a great month for this tasty dish in that in Southern California the Cherries are just coming into season and what better than fresh cherries for this wonderful dessert?
Cobblers go back to the early English settlers that came to this country. Since they did not have the proper ovens to make their pies, cobblers were made in pots hung over a fire. The fillings could have been sweet fruit or savory items such as fowl. The part that makes it a cobbler is the Dough topping that was spooned on top of the filling. When the ingredients, including the dough were in the pot, it was covered and hung over the fire. The heat created steam in the filling and this in turn cause the dough to puff up and bake.
The name Cobbler may have been derived from ‘cobbled streets’ that were so often found in early towns or perhaps from the fact that a Cobbler was someone who patched shoes – the dough spooned on top of the filling could have resembled the patches that were put on shoes in those early days. Whatever the reason behind the name, the Cobbler is a delicious dish that again can be either savory or sweet. Since today is Cherry Cobbler Day, we will concentrate on the sweet aspects of Cobbler.
The best Cherry Cobbler will be made from Tart Cherries, but these seem to be hard to find these days. Tart (pie cherries) can be found as a canned product but unless you actually go to where the Cherries are grown, it may be hard to find them fresh. When I was a child and when my children were small, we used to go ‘Cherry Picking’ first in Cherry Valley in Beaumont, California which is east of Los Angeles and then in Leona Valley which is North of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, gone are the days when Cherries were reasonably priced. Today you can pay as much as $10 per pound for Cherries, but more commonly when in season between $4 & $6 per pound.
For Cobbler, the Cherries need to be pitted. There are several ways in which this can be done. The easiest is to have a Cherry Pitter that will pit multiple cherries at one time. Then there is the single Cherry Pitter that does one at a time. If you don’t have either of these, then the alternative is to take a tapestry needle and dig out the pits, one at a time from one cherry at a time. My preference is the multiple pitter. If you don’t want to bother pitting the cherries at all, you can purchase frozen cherries or canned ones. Either kind will be good for your cobbler. For a simple recipe for Cherry Cobbler please see the recipe section of this blog. deserts/cherry-cobbler/
In the Cherry Pitter at the left, the Cherries are fed into the basin at the top. The drop down one at a time into the single opening and then by pushing down the plunger the Pit is removed and goes nto the bucket. The Cherry comes out the spout in front. When using this pitter, it is best to have a container for the Cherries to fall into.
This particular pitter was made in West Germany. I have not seen any US manufactured ones, but that does not mean there are not any.
This pitter is best, because you can rapidly push dow the plunger to extract the pits – much faster than the single pitter.
In the Pitter at right, the individual Cherry goes
The amount of sweetener that is used with the Cherries will depend on the type of Cherry used. The very sweet Cherries such as Bing or Mt. Rainer will require very little sugar. The tart Cherries such as Queen Anne will require as much as a cup of sugar. Whichever Cherry you use, a small amount of Lemon Juice and Almond Extract will enhance the flavor of the Cherries and hence your Cobbler.
Cobblers are good for dessert or as we like it, for breakfast. Serve it either with fresh heavy cream, whipped cream or ice cream. Cobblers are best served warm, so if you can’t serve it right out of the oven, you can reheat it slightly before serving. This is one of the times, that microwave heating will not be detrimental as it is with most baked goods.