The other day my husband looked at my Instagram feed and told me that everything looked brown. Don’t I know it? The winter is darn long. Tan. What do you expect? Now is the time for chocolate, caramel, coffee etc. Brown flavors. Delicious flavors but monochromatic nonetheless. While I’ll always be a big fan of chocolate, right about now I'm really missing all the other colors of the rainbow.
Remember peaches? Think back on blueberries. Can we talk about rhubarb? I know I should really be getting into winter-loving citrus. I’m working on a kumquat recipe as we speak. We’ll get to citrus. But right now I just want to think about summer cherries.
I think that those of us who are obsessed with summer fruit fall into two categories. There are the jammers and the freezers. When the farmers’ markets are overflowing with gorgeous produce, what is your inclination? My friend Sarah is a jammer. Come peach season, that women ties a bandana around her red curls and gets to work. First she harvests like a maniac, and then she spends days and days giving herself endless fruit facials over steamy cauldrons of sticky hot fruit mush. Smuckers would be put to shame by her efforts. After all of that hard work, she has hundreds of jars of gorgeous peach preserve that afford her and her lucky family the opportunity to enjoy the summer well past March.
I fall into the other camp. I’m a freezer. I’m all about insurance. When I see fruit at its peak, all I want to do is clean it up and store it away. (After I've eaten my fill, of course.) Stockpiled frozen fruit means I have options from September to April. When the deep urge for pie or a craving for cobbler strikes, I’m covered. Hit me with your best shot, Winter Doldrums. I'm not afraid. The thing is, in August I have no idea what I’m going to want to eat or bake in January. What if I don’t want jam on toast? With frozen fruit I have the reserves to cover any whim. One day, I hope to have second freezer dedicated solely to summer fruit. First we need an apartment with a closet. Then I’m going to put an extra freezer in the closet. Good plan.
This week I made you a sour cherry cobbler with the frozen cherries I put away last August. I know. It’s kind of rude. I hope you’ll forgive me. If you happened to store away some sour cherries last summer, you’re in luck. Hot and bubbly, crunchy, sweet cobbler for you! But if you didn’t plan ahead, I urge you to use this recipe for something more January appropriate like pears or apples. Or, check out the freezer aisle of your grocery store where gorgeous summer fruit has been preserved at its peak just for you. I don’t know about you, but I just needed some respite from all this cold. And you know what? Biscuits never go out of season.
For the fruit filling:
6 cups pitted sour cherries, thawed if frozen (or whatever fruit floats your boat)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar (more or less, depending on your fruit)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the biscuit topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk (I used 2% but anything would be fine), plus more for brushing
sanding sugar for sprinkling
1. Make the fruit filling: Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss together cherries, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.
2. Make the biscuit topping: Meanwhile, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and work the mixture with your fingers until the butter has broken down and is mostly dispersed. The moisture from your fingers should be enough to work in the butter but don’t let it melt. With a fork, stir in enough milk to evenly moisten the dough. You may not need the entire 3/4 cup milk.
3. Scoop the dough onto the fruit. An ice cream scoop works well. Brush the biscuits with milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 to 40 minutes.