Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I'm not generally one to hold back on recipes and blog posts - because I like to incorporate a lot of my daily life into this blog (read: talk about myself so much), I more or less post about these meals as they happen. However, I really wanted to participate in this week's Apricot-Cherry Almond Cobbler in my drafts folder for the week and a half it's been since I brought it to our friends Carson + Nicole's housewarming party.
It is by far the greatest cobbler I've ever made. It helps that it includes my very favorite stone fruits - Rainier instead of Bing cherries, and the plumpest apricots I've seen all season (thanks, Gelson's!). I've been on a huge Rainier cherry kick ever since I took over the craft service table at Mêlée's "On the Movie Screen" video shoot and had so many cherries that I very nearly went into withdrawal the next day.
Sadly, it won't convert any cherry-haters (Greg's face had a why-do-you-hate-me look on it after I convinced him that Rainiers don't taste like regular cherries - he disagreed). But for all the rest of us, there's nothing not to love. I subbed in brown sugar where it called for white because I thought its warmth better suited the fruit and the almond flavoring. I didn't have Amaretto so I used almond extract.
I had to take the photo pre-cobble because the luscious fruit was practically winking at me from the pie plate. It's definitely less cute with the topping on, but that's not to say the taste of it wasn't worth the hidden gems. I would still like to explore the idea of encasing the fruit in a lattice crust to show off all the colors, but it'll be a hard sell to replace that wonderfully light and fluffy cake, perfumed with just the faintest hint of almond.
My only regret is that I didn't double the recipe and bake it in a 13x9 pan, but there will be plenty of time for that as the markets are still flush with both cherries and apricots. That is, if I don't just eat them all out of hand first.
Apricot-Cherry Almond Crumble
adapted from Sur La Table Desserts
For the filling:
1 lb. firm-ripe tart apricots, halved, pitted, and each half cut into 4 or 5 slices
1 lb. sweet, firm-ripe cherries, pitted
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. amaretto or almond extract
For the topping:
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 oz. almond paste at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. whole milk, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center.
2. Make the filling: In the large bowl, toss together the apricot slices, cherries, sugar, and amaretto until all the fruit is coated evenly. Use the spatula to scrape into the baking dish and spread in an even layer.
3. Make the topping: Place the sugar and almond paste in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until the almond paste is broken into tiny pieces. Add the softened butter and beat on medium-high until the mixture is very light in color, almost white, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and blend well. Scrape down the bowl. In the medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on lowest speed, add the flour mixture and milk alternately to the butter. Scrape down the bowl, and finish blending by hand with the spatula. Cover the fruit by letting the batter fall off the spatula in long bands over the fruit (don’t try to spread it or it will sink into the fruit). Use the spatula to gently blend the bands of batter together until it covers the fruit in a single layer.
4. You may want to place a baking sheet or a piece of foil under the cobbler to catch any juices that may bubble over. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the topping is nicely browned and a toothpick or skewer inserted into the topping comes out clean. The fruit should be bubbling and soft.