Every June the kids and I head up to Leona Valley to pick cherries. It takes a bit more than an hour to get to Leona Valley, a tiny town in a long, thin valley cozied up against the mountains that separate the Los Angeles basin from the high desert of the Antelope Valley.
For five or six weekends each spring the town is crawling with urban tourists like me who come to pick cherries. There are a dozen pick-your-own orchards, one huge and borderline industrial, the rest small and dusty. We like the dusty ones.
This year we went to Rolling Thunder Cherry Ranch because I've been following them on Facebook and I like to reward forward-thinking businesses that embrace online marketing. They could not have been sweeter, and that goes for both the people and the cherries. Ten pounds of Bing cherries later, we drove home, dusty, happy, stomachs filled with cherries that didn't quite make it into our buckets.
I got up early this morning and made cherry cobbler. Sweet syrupy red cherries with a fluffy biscuit topping - in my book there's no better breakfast.
Note on preparation: Pitting cherries is a pain in the neck. There's no way around it. Sometimes I use my OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter. Other times I rip the fruit apart with my fingers and endure the stains on my skin. There are larger cherry pitters with handles that look cool, but they do miss pits and I'm never in the mood for broken teeth. I'd rather do it by hand and make sure the pits are gone.
Fresh cherry cobbler
Sweet, syrupy red cherries with a fluffy biscuit topping - there's no better way to enjoy the season's best fresh cherries.
- 6 cups fresh cherries, pitted
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 Tablespoons coarse raw sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.In a large bowl, toss the cherries with the cornstarch and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Let sit 15 minutes. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and pour in the cherry mixture. Slip the baking dish into the oven and bake about 20 minutes, until the cherries are hot and the juices bubble around the edges.Meantime, while the cherries are in the oven, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Quickly stir together the melted butter and buttermilk in a bowl or measuring cup, then pour over the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until the dough just comes together. Using one hand, knead quickly by flipping the dough over on itself three or four times in the bowl, then turn the dough out onto the counter. Pat the dough into an 8-inch square.Pull the cherries out of the oven. Using a large spatula or your hands, lay the biscuit dough on top of the cherries. Sprinkle with the coarse raw sugar and return the pan to the oven. Bake another 30-35 minutes, or until the biscuit topping is golden brown, the fruit is bubbling furiously, and the house smells wonderful.Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving to let the juices firm up a bit. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings