"Cooking demands attention, patience, and above all, a respect for the gifts of the earth. It is a form of worship, a way of giving thanks."
- Judith B. Jones
We're deep in the midst of the summer fruit season and I'm loving it! Fresh cherries, peaches, and berries, I adore them all. Even tomatoes. A fresh, in season, homegrown tomato is unlike any you can purchase in a mega mart.
|Using my cherry pitter to remove the pits|
Fresh cherries may be my favorite of them all.
|Making the batter|
In fact, a few weeks ago, we returned from a trip to the Fruit loop in Oregon, where we like to visit fruit farms. We indeed purchased many pounds of cherries.
|Melted butter from the oven|
Unfortunately, those cherries were gone before I knew it. In previous years I have purchased pounds and pounds of them. On one trip, I brought home and pitted probably 15 pounds of assorted varieties of cherries and froze them. Those are long gone.
|I buy vanilla beans online and keep them wrapped tightly in many ziplock bags. They do stay fresh for months. Much better than spending 8 dollars on one dried up bean from the grocery store.|
It's just so nice to open your freezer in the winter and pull out some delicious summer fruit. You can use them in baking recipes such as this, or in smoothies, or making ice cream or sorbet, the list is endless.
|To use a vanilla bean, you scrape out the seeds and use only them. This leaves the pod, which has lots of flavor left inside. So I always put the empty pod in a container of sugar to make vanilla sugar.|
Maybe one of the reasons I love fruit so much is because I love desserts like this one. Crisps and cobblers are one of my favorite desserts.
This particular recipe I based loosely on Michael Symon's blueberry iron skillet cobbler. So needless to say, you can use blueberries, or raspberries, or of course cherries in this recipe. I bet fresh peaches would be great too!
This is a very casual and heartwarming dessert. The batter rises to the top and hugs the cherries, forming almost a cake like cobbler. This is not the type of cobbler I'm used to, but it's tasty nonetheless. The lemon adds a nice dimension to the sweetness of the batter and the cherries, and the vanilla bean makes it special.
|Ready for the oven - It's important to put the skillet on a baking sheet so it doesn't spill over|
I hope you enjoy this beautiful season and it's bounty while it's here. I'm doing my best to by eating gobs of fresh fruit and in season vegetables every day. For I know it will be but a mere moment before they're gone.
Fresh Cherry Skillet Cobbler
This recipe is loosely adapted from Michael Symon's Cast Iron Blueberry Cobbler
Makes one 8 inch cast iron skillet, about 4 servings
6 Tablespoons (80g.) butter
1 cup (140 g.) flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (236 ml.) whole milk
3/4 cup (150 g.) sugar plus 2 Tablespoons, divided
Juice and zest of one small lemon, or half of one large lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out, use seeds only - or if vanilla beans are not available, use 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
2 cups (300 g.) fresh or frozen sweet cherries, like Bing or Rainier cherries - pitted
vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream for topping, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4.
While oven is preheating, place the butter in the cast iron skillet, then put in the oven to melt.
Meanwhile in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and the seeds from the scraped out vanilla bean. Stir in the milk, the 3/4 cup of sugar, the lemon juice and zest and whisk together until mixed well.
Mix the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar with the pitted cherries in another bowl.
Remove the skillet with the butter melted inside, from the oven. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Top with the sugared cherries. Place the skillet on a baking sheet, in case some of it overflows it will catch it. Bake until brown and the batter has risen above the fruit, about 40-45 minutes. Make sure the batter has set, and it's not still gooey inside by sticking a sharp knife into the center, if it comes out clean it's done. If it's still wet, it needs more time.
Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional.
I hope you love it!