Today I had Apricot-Cherry Cobbler for lunch. Twice. A rare indulgence. I was outside taking pictures, the whipped cream was starting to fade–the rest of my family was headed for Cape Cod. What was I supposed to do, let it go to waste? It was a very satisfying lunch.
My tastes in dessert are embarrassingly retrograde. Nothing fancy pants. I’m like the guy in a suit who can barely box-step, gawping from the periphery of the dance floor at everyone else’s fancy footwork. Lined end to end, my favorite desserts would resemble the bit players in a movie about bistro or trattoria food from the fifties and sixties–crème caramel, crème brûlée, chocolate mousse, flourless chocolate torte, lemon tart–along with an array of treats that you might find on somebody’s death row last meal–cherry, peach or blackberry crumble or cobbler, pies–glorious pies, all kinds, but especially wild blueberry–homemade pudding, glistening jello molds with fruit suspended inside, strawberry shortcake. I’d add homemade walnut cinnamon rolls, except they’re not dessert. This week’s subject, unlike a few of the items above, requires no special expertise. Make the fruit filling, dollop it with the biscuity topping. Bake. It may be simple, but it’s as primally satisfying as a rope swing beneath a shaded tree on a summer afternoon.
As an aside, I’ll just mention that in the Ken Rivard dictionary of disappointment, apricots would earn a featured place–they never taste they way I imagine they should. That is, like something Scheherazade might offer you to spend the night. Peripatetic food writers with greater travel budgets than mine yammer on about the joys of apricots in Iran, in Armenia, in Azerbaijan, how they put the mealy little gold balls that often pass for apricots in this country to shame, etc. etc. Despite my, ah, lack of enthusiasm Jody was insistant–she wanted apricots. The result was delicious, with apricots that just held their shape. Don’t forget the whipped cream. Ken
Note: If you’re looking for something else to do with the cherries these days you might give our easy Pickled Cherries a try. On the Fourth of July we served drinks with a batch that we made last summer. Still great! Or you might stop by Sally Vargas’s blog Cooking Lessons for her take on Cherry Frozen Yogurt.
- 1 pound apricots
- 1 pound cherries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Zest of 1 lime
- ¼ cup crystallized ginger slices, chopped into 1/8 inch pieces
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
- ½ cup buttermilk, cold
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- Wash the fruit. Slice each apricot in half and remove the pit and put the halves into a large bowl. Remove the pits from the cherries with a cherry pitter or cut in half and remove with your hands and add to the bowl with the apricots. Add the remaining filling ingredients and toss well.
- Transfer to a shallow overproof baking dish.
- Put all of the topping ingredients except the butter, buttermilk, and turbinado sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse 4 times to breakdown the butter into pea sized pieces. Transfer to a bowl. Add the buttermilk and stir to just combine.
- Put teaspoons of the topping evenly over the fruit. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the cobbler 45 minutes or so. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.
This dessert is really just a baked fruit shortcake. It couldn’t be any simpler. You could do individual servings in ramekins and take them on a picnic.
Sarah Caravedi, our pastry chef at Trade, suggested this combination of fruit. It was a good call as both apricots and cherries are available now. However, I was, as Ken promised I would be, disappointed with the apricots I found so I fought back with the bold flavors of ginger and lime zest. The apricots did redeem themselves in texture as they remained nicely tender-firm after baking.
I didn’t add any thickener like cornstarch or flour to the fruit filling because I like the natural syrupy sauce that the fruit makes and the flavors remain truer. I usually make the biscuit topping for cobbler with heavy cream, but I had leftover buttermilk from last week’s soup, so I used it instead. It makes a wonderful light cobbler topping and makes room for a generous proportion of butter in the dough.