"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sour Cherry Cobbler

In honor of my new Farming in the Suburbs mission, I decided to harvest sour cherries from a tree in our backyard to make cobbler for both our family and the new neighbors next door.


We've lived in this house for over 4 years. And every single year, the birds get all the sour cherries off of our tree before we do. Partly, this is because I'm not all that protective of the cherries. They're sour after all, and I had no idea what to do with them. And partly, it's because the birds are so quick. Really, within 24 hours of the cherries turning red those suckers can clean the entire tree. This year, the planets aligned and they were ripe (or close enough to ripe for me to pick) on a Saturday when I didn't have much else planned.


So, I picked a bucketful of them and sat down with Jeff and Joey to pit them using straws and/or pastry tips to push out the seeds (they preferred the straws, I liked the pastry tip).


While we sat there for the eons it took to pit all these, we discussed the story of the Little Red Hen. Jeff did change the ending of the story so that she shared the bread anyway because that's a better Buddhist ending. My ending involved a rude hand gesture and scarfing the bread all by herself. I think we know who the better parent is.

We also talked about how we would have felt about all these sour cherries if we lived in Little-House-on-the-Prairie times. We would have been thrilled to have the opportunity to pick the tree clean (instead of leaving most for the birds as I did) and work together to make into pies and cobblers and cakes and probably jams. And another difference that Jeff pointed out was that they probably didn't have Oingo Boingo playing in the background.

Eventually, we found ourselves with over 4 pounds of pitted cherries, which I used a Cooks Illustrated recipe to turn into this…


I had found several recipes on the web using sour cherries, but, frankly, if we were going to go to all the work of picking and pitting the cherries, I wanted something with the best chance of turning out. And I trust Cooks Illustrated. I tell people all the time that I can't think of one of their recipes that I haven't loved. It does take a certain kind of person to enjoy making some of their more difficult recipes (precise might be one phrasing, anal-retentive might be another), but they are always worth it.

This recipe called for a cup of red wine, which made a super tasty cobbler. I really love the sweet of the sauce and the tart of the cherries. Plus it doesn't hurt that it's topped with buttermilk biscuits, which I adore.

Now that I know that sour cherries can be turned into this, I'll be investing in a cherry pitter and a taller ladder for next year.


knittinandnoodlin said...

Oh my goodness that cobbler looks delicious! We have a sour cherry tree, too, and like yours, it gets picked clean every year. But, when we went out this year, it appears that the tree has a fungus...all of the cherries were moldy hanging right there on the tree! So sad. =(

I love Cook's Illustrated recipies and I know the exact one you're talking about! I'm so jealous of your cobbler! If you're in the market for a cherry pitter, the Pampered Chef one I got a zillion years ago is the best one I've ever used (no, I don't sell Pampered Chef lol).

Enjoy your yummy cobbler!

MichelleB said...

It looks great! Lucky you to get all of those cherries. When we lived in CO we planted a cherry tree - to protect the cherries we put up one of those nets. One day we went outside and a bird had gotten it's leg caught in the net. Needless to say, we never used a net again.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, I'm sure you don't remember our cherry tree in Loveland, or the great vegetable garden, plum trees, and grapes that we had. But we lived there over five years, and never once enjoyed any of those cherries! One year we said, out loud but where the birds couldn't hear us, "tomorrow we should pick the cherries so that we can get them before the birds do." The very next morning, less than twelve hours later, we woke up to pick those cherries ... and there wasn't one cherry on the whole damn tree! So congratulations ... well done! (Aunt Linda.)

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

That looks delish.

PS. I'm with you on the rude hand gesture.

laura capello said...

oh, looks yummy!

(and ack, the pits of the cherries is the main reason i don't do much with cherries. you can read that laziness into other aspects of my life as well.)

Anonymous said...

The best canned jam I've ever had in my life was from sour cherries. It is unbelievably good.

My mom says the same about cherry pies... she says you have to have sour cherries for the best pies.

So I guess you have gold mine!
Good eatting! (I envy you just a smidge)

Jennifer said...

MMMM!!! Our sour cherry tree is smashed between the garage and the fence in "no man's land"... and there is the 220 volt electric line running right beside it. I don't know if we will ever get cherries off of it!

I'm really trying on our two apple trees this year... the squirrels get them every year. They pick one, take a bite, and throw it down. Wasteful squirrels.

Some Kinda Wonderful said...

That cobbler looks fantastic. Oh how I wish we had smell-o-vision, or whatever one would call it if you could smell thru a computer screen.

Renee Unplugged - said...

I have to agree - the cobbler looks fabu!
I have a friend who tests recipes for Cook's Illustrated.
Last week she was making chicken soup...NO KIDDING.
It's really cool to have taste-tested one of the recipes she's made and then see it in their show!
BTW - You've GOTTA try the fool-proof pie crust AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

cake said...

so jealous of your cherry tree, and so happy to know you have discovered the goodness of the sour cherry. i like them so much more than the sweet ones.

the best thing to do with them, (in my opinion) is to make a cherry pie. and, if possible, freeze enough to make a couple of pies in the winter. nothing like a cherry pie on president's day:


here you can witness for yourself the-less-than-flattering-artificial light-food-photography!

oh, and put some bird netting on that tree!