If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that there’s nothing I love more than a baked fruit dessert. I could never get sick of this kind of thing! Whether it’s pie or pandowdy, cobbler or crumble, buckle or betty. I love their curious, quirky names and the multitude of ways to prepare them. For me, they are perfect any time of year, using whatever fruit is in season. Today’s recipe is a classic Buttermilk Cherry Cobbler. I wanted to enjoy a last hurrah of summer cherries before the apples and pears of autumn take centre stage.
So what is a cobbler exactly?
A cobbler is a dessert, most often with fruit (although savoury cobblers exist too!) baked in a dish or skillet, with a topping similar to a biscuit or scone. The topping can be either scattered in “clumps” for a rustic feel or you can use a round cutter to layer circle shapes on top of your filling. It’s then baked until the topping is golden and the fruit is cooked and bubbling to perfection.
A cobbler topping is quite different to a pie, which uses rolled pastry on the top and bottom. A crumble is made with a topping of flour, butter, sugar and optional oats and nuts rubbed together.
A Pandowdy has a pastry top, but it’s usually broken or cut into uneven shapes to ensure it becomes extra crispy. A buckle is topped with cake batter instead of pastry. And I hadn’t even heard of the North Carolina “sonker” until just now. This kind of regional dessert history is fascinating to baking nerds like me.
Maybe it’s the fact that they seem so nostalgic, I can just imagine my Nan making desserts like this. They are a fantastic way to use up any fruit that is a little overripe. And of course you can interchange whatever fruit is in season. The topping comes together with just a few basic pantry ingredients you probably have on hand. And you’d better not forget the ice cream!
I always used to think of cherries as a Christmas food – they just feel so festive to me. I’ve shared a bunch of Christmas cherry recipes like my Mulled Wine Cherry Cheesecake Bars. But enjoying cherries all the way into March has reminded me that cherries are not just for Christmas. They’re one of my favourite stone fruits and I love cooking with them.
Fresh cherries are absolutely perfect in this cobbler. Their flavour shone through beautifully, enhanced only with vanilla, cinnamon and a hint of Cointreau (orange liqueur). You could use cherry liqueur or a cordial like rhubarb or elderflower. I cooked them down a little before baking to ensure they would cook up perfectly, and thickened the juice they released with a little cornstarch for the perfect texture.
For the cobbler topping, I knew I wanted to add buttermilk. It just seems like such a classic combination with cherries. The pastry came together easily in the food processor, and then you simply roll it out and layer it on top of the cherry filling. I love to brush the pastry with some extra buttermilk and most importantly, scatter some raw sugar on top. This gives a really lovely texture when it’s baked.
You seriously can’t go wrong with a dessert like this. It’s comforting and absolutely delicious – and like that old saying, it’s even easier than pie! No really, the cobbler topping is way easier than making a pie crust!
I hope you try this Cherry Cobbler recipe and love it as much as I do! Please let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram. Please take a pic and tag me @spicyicecream. I absolutely love to see your photos of the recipes you’ve made!
Related Post: Cherry and Peach Pandowdy
Buttermilk Cherry Cobbler
This Buttermilk Cherry Cobbler is a delicious, nostalgic dessert with a sweet fruit filling and a delicious rustic topping. Just don't forget the ice cream!
- 600 g cherries pitted weight
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- 1-2 tablespoons Cointreau or Cherry Liqueur
- 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 75 g cold butter chopped
- 3 tablespoons raw sugar plus extra to scatter
- 135 ml buttermilk plus extra for brushing
- Icing sugar to serve
- Vanilla ice cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (400°F).
Place the pitted cherries, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon into a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes. In a small bowl or jug, whisk together the water and cornflour. While the mixture is boiling, add it in and stir to thoroughly combine. The mixture should start to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the Cointreau or liqueur.
Cool the cherry mixture slightly before pouring into an oven-proof baking dish.
While the filling cools, make the the buttermilk pastry. Process the self-raising flour, butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add buttermilk and process until mixture forms a dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth.
Roll out to 5mm thick and cut out 5cm rounds with a pastry cutter. Arrange over cherry filling, overlapping circles slightly. Brush tops with a little extra buttermilk and scatter raw sugar over pastry.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cherries are bubbling and pastry is golden and risen. Serve hot, dusted with icing sugar and topped with ice cream.