Last week, as the markets were overflowing with cherries, I committed one of my habitual acts. I purchased way too many cherries, more than two people could possible consume in a reasonable amount of time. I committed another one of my other habitual acts as well, that results in too much food in the refrigerator, overly ambitious cooking plans, and underestimating my time. I bought one dozen perfect apricots at the Santa Monica Farmers Market and a bag of nectarines! As my husband likes to exclaim ‘how much fruit can one person eat in a day’. Trust me we are big fruit eaters, however, there are limits.
This time of year, the California local cherries are finishing and the huge, utterly amazing Washington cherries are starting to come in. I adore any fruit that is sweet but with a strong tart-acidic component. Pure sweet is bland and tasteless. Oh well enough of my opinions and let’s get on with the cherries. Cherries are also great for making preserves, or Dulce de Cerezas, cherry pie, or cherry amaretti crisp.
One more word, I was seeking to create a non dairy dessert and I used margarine and Almond milk. I used the white whole flour just to see what would happen. It was great.
4 nectarines or peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons corn starch
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 & 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter or margarine, unsalted
½ cup Almond Milk
Preheat the oven to 350º. Pit the cherries. I use a mix of Rainier and Bing cherries. Cut the apricots in half and remove pits then cut each half in half again. Slice nectarines into 8 slices each. Toss the fruit with the lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Divide the fruit into 10 large ramekins or individual oven proof cereal bowls (see the picture). Place the bowls on a baking sheet and place the fruit bowls in the hot oven for 15 minutes to begin cooking the fruit, while you prepare the dough.
Toss the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut in the margarine (if you are making it non-dairy) using a pastry cutter or two knives until the margarine bits are the size of small peas. Mix the almond milk with the egg and then add it to the flour mix. Bring the dough together in a ball and turn it out onto your work surface to mix a little more. Sprinkle the work surface with a little of the flour and work the dough a little, until it is soft and you can roll it out into a rectangle. Roll the rectangle to be about 6 inches by 10 inches and about ½ inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise and in 5 portions widthwise. You will have ten 2 x 3 pieces.
Open the oven and remove the baking sheet with the bowls. Raise the oven Temperature to 380º and close the door. Place a biscuit square on top of each cobbler. Place the fruit cobblers back in the oven for about 20 minutes until the biscuit tops are browned and puffed and the fruit is bubbling and syrupy. Remove from the oven. Serve warm. You can eat them with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you like.