I'm ending my Father's Day menu installment with the recipe for the cherry cobbler I made especially for my Dad. See, he loves cherry pie, but then again who doesn't? It is about as quintessential Americana as the timeless apple pie. Every Thanksgiving, when putting together our menu of sides and desserts to go along with the turkey of choice that year, a cherry pie is always included. My dad doesn't care for pecan, the aforementioned apple, or even pumpkin. Since the cherry pie usually belongs to him and him alone, a canned cherry pie filling and store bought crust usually suffices. However, that is not how I prefer to assemble my desserts. Especially during the peak of cherry season. I bought a large bag of dark, sweet cherries and they certainly tasted as advertised. They were plump and juicy- the flesh the color of a mature merlot. Thankfully I bought more than I needed for the cobbler, because I just couldn't resist eating a handful or two while meticulously pitting each cherry. And though the cherries were the real star of this dessert, the crust was a fierce competitor. It was impossibly fluffy, thanks to the addition of buttermilk and heavy cream. The cobbler didn't need anything else at this point- it was already quite tasty, but I decided to make a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. Partly because cobbler and vanilla ice cream go together like peas and carrots, but also partly because I had just bought a new ice cream recipe book by David Lebovitz and I was dying to try one of them out. Vanilla ice cream, though standard, is sinfully delicious and rich when made the traditional French way with egg yolks heated with cream, but when paired with a fresh-from-the-oven cherry cobbler, it's out of this world.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, July 1997
For cherry filling-
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
12 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries (about 4 pounds fresh, picked over)
2 tablespoons Frangelico or Di Saronno Amaretto
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp allspice
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup chilled buttermilk
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. To make filling, whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a large heavy saucepan. Add fresh cherries, liqueur, vanilla, almond extract, allspice and lemon juice and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer mixture, stirring, 4-5 minutes and transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
3. For topping, whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Add butter; rub in with fingertips or use a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add buttermilk and cream, tossing with fork until dough comes together.
4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls over hot filling to cover. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake cobbler until topping is golden and tester inserted into center of topping comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Serve cobbler warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Vanilla Ice Cream
Courtesy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided use
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Be careful to not let the mixture boil. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving for another use, and then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Makes about 1 quart