I like to think of myself as a sort of minimalist, and really, most of the year, I am. Until the stone fruits come into season, at which time I become a hoarder. Of fruits. This is nothing new. Try as I might to make lists, to buy only what’s on them at the market, I start plucking peaches + plums by the pound. If cherries are in sight, I’ll buy two or three pounds – because I can – regardless of how many pounds I already have in the refrigerator. To make matters worse, typically berries and figs are in season at about the same time so before I even make it to the list of things I actually NEED at the store, I have already filled my basket with juicy sweet so-sexy fruits + I won’t even feel bad about it. Not even when the basket on my bike is so heavy it nearly topples over when I go around the corners of the bike path, headed home with my produce loot.
The benefits of this are not all unfortunate. Yes, I have to make sure to get more regular tune ups on my two-wheeled grocery go-getter, but we have literally pounds of reason to justify having bowls of berries, cherries + figs strewn about the house for snacking, as if we were living in the most nonchalant design magazine. We have peaches with fresh cheeses before dinner with wine — because the peaches are RIGHT NOW. And, we have cobbler for breakfast because that’s what you do in the summer, and summer only comes but once a year.
One of the highlights of the holiday weekend was making a sweet polka-dotted cherry pie for a friend whom did something over-the-moon-kind for me. When I delivered this hand-baked thank you note to him, we shared a laugh because, who really comes by to deliver a freshly baked homemade pie these days? Well, I do, for one at least, and I might have convinced him to do the same. The truth was I couldn’t imagine a more proper way to thank him than spending the time in the kitchen working the dough, making the filling, using my hands to create this thing that seems to be hard to come by — something that started from *nothing* and ended up being a golden, fragrant, sweet something from scratch. You can’t accidentally make a pie, like you can accidentally make a bowl of cereal for dinner. You can’t make a pie without intention, or care, or patience.
I’ve been thinking about that pie all week; because it was so darn cute, but also because I am so in love with the process,. Because the smells of it baking are what I want to smell like when I walk down the street. Either way, the time to make another cherry pie this week has come and gone as things have gotten busy again, but the desire to continue savoring the flavors of the season – these simple things elevated – hasn’t. If I – a woman in the kitchen hell-bend on good pastry – don’t have time to make a pie from scratch, what is this world coming to?!
We bought this little charcoal grill a few weeks back and, since its been so hot here in Boulder, we’ve been using it to make anything and everything. I had some extra pitted cherries on hand (because, as it turns out, pitting cherries and watching the Tour de France recap is an excellent way to wind down an afternoon. Here’s how I’m doing it!) and so I got a crazy idea: grilled cherry cobbler. So crazy, it might work! I tossed the cherries with some honey, mixed up a quick biscuit to plop on top, and then, when Derek was done cooking a few other things on the grill for our dinner, I had him put on a cast-iron skillet filled with this straightforward cobbler. For once, HE (almost) made me dessert! We could smell it baking while we ate dinner, and we let it bubble away there until we were ready to eat it, allowing the briquettes to cool. When we were ready for dessert, the cobbler was perfectly ready to eat.
SO! This cobbler. What’s amazing about it isn’t the presentation; when it’s all baked up, this cobbler doesn’t have anything over the cobblers that you have in your arsenal. But, the preparation here is beyond easy, the ingredients are beyond simple. In fact, it is very likely that when you have nothing else in your pantry or refrigerator, you still have the ingredients to make this. To add to the magic, you needn’t warm up the kitchen with a hot oven, and if the grill is on, you needn’t even baby sit your dessert; it will be ready when dinner is through.
This cobbler is depending on you to make it your own magic summer night dessert. You don’t have cherries? No big deal – use peaches, berries, whatever fresh fruits you have on hand. You can also get sassy with flours for the cobbler dough itself; I used spelt + almond flour, but corn meal, graham flour, or good old whole wheat would be great here. You could add spices or salt to your liking in the batter as well — cinnamon is a great standby but nutmeg would be great with peaches! Or lemon zest, or chopped toasted nuts. I used raw cane sugar, but granulated sugar would do just fine. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp of honey but if you don’t have the honey, you could also use sugar in the filling — you just want sugar to caramelize those cherries! Lastly, I love using yogurt in this recipe but you wouldn’t need it to make the dough great. Buttermilk, or whatever milk you have on hand will be great. The whole thing with cobbler is that – no matter what, it’s going to taste GOOD. A little bit of butter, caramelized fruit, a little biscuit and some cream on top is bound to be delicious.
One thing to consider, since you’re not cooking in a proper oven: you’d typically cook a cobbler in an oven at 350F – 400F degrees. If you have other things on the grill, your cooking time could take a while. If the grill is smokin’ hot, your cook time could be less. We set the cobbler in the grill as it was cooling down; it was about 350F degrees, so our cooking time took a little longer. Just peek at the cobbler biscuits periodically to see that they aren’t burned – if they’re golden, they’re good.
I hope your grill is on, and fragrant and that this technique gets sweet summer desserts into your belly faster, and easier, just as it has for us. And I hope to hear some of the creative ways your making it your own! -xo L
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour (I used 1/2 cup spelt + 1/2 cup almond flour and 1 Tbsp spelt)
- 1/4 cup raw cane, or granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt (optional, to taste)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- 1 1/2 pounds cherries, pitted
- Preheat a grill to medium-high. (If you're using charcoal, don't forget that you'll need the charcoal to warm at least 30 minutes before using the grill.) You'd like the temperature of the grill to reach 400 degrees if possible.
- Grease a medium cast-iron skillet, and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon + salt. Mix in the yogurt and melted butter (and the vanilla, if using) until just combined.
- In another medium bowl, toss together the cherries, remaining 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons honey. (As a reminder, if you don't have honey, sugar will work just fine here!)
- Spoon the fruit into the prepared skillet and plop the dough over the fruit in 8 big spoonfuls; sprinkle the topwith sugar.
- Cover with aluminum foil and grill until the juices are bubbling and the top is golden, about 20-30 minutes, depending on your grill. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with a scoop of the ice cream.