I’ve been on a major cherry kick this summer. Aside from snacking on dark sweet cherries from the Northwest, I’ve been roasting them by the pound. I serve them over ice cream and overnight oats, sometimes on toast and a few weeks ago, I even put a bunch of them into chocolate cherry ice cream. Today, I’m sharing a vegan cherry cobbler that’s given me many days of delightful dessert leftovers.
Sweet cherries are so easy to love. There’s the natural sweetness, of course, a treat on its own or as part of a recipe. There’s the plump, juicy texture and beautiful deep red color, but sweet cherries are also a powerful source of nutrition. They’re packed with anthocyanins, a plant pigment that may have anti-inflammatory effects. Anthocyanins are also classified as antioxidants, and like other antioxidants, they may help guard against chronic disease with aging.
It’s nice when a dessert this delicious is also a vehicle for nutrient-dense ingredients. I cherish sweet cherries year round (the frozen ones are a staple in winter), but I savor them more than ever at this time of year.
Building a vegan cherry cobbler
There are lots of different approaches to making cobbler. One is to create a topping with biscuit dough that’s been shaped into rounds (that’s what I do for this peach cornmeal cobbler). You can also forgo the rounds and simply drop biscuit dough on top of fruit for a freeform, rustic effect. Cobbler can also be made with batter rather than biscuit dough. It’s apparently possible for it even to be topped with a layer of dumplings!
I use a soft biscuit dough for this vegan cherry cobbler. It’s not quite as crumbly as the dough I’d use for biscuits, but it’s not soft enough to be like cake, either. This was my first time spreading the biscuit dough over the fruit in dollops, and I loved the effect. It leads to a top layer that covers nearly all of the fruit, with juicy little pockets of sweet cherries bubbling up to the surface as the cobbler cooks.
The dough here is similar to the dough I recently used for my strawberry scones. You cut the butter into a flour, sugar, baking powder and salt mixture. Then you add enough milk to make for a crumbly, yet moist, dough. It’s more wet than what you’d use for scones, but the dough should still be dry enough that it doesn’t all stick together.
The most important ingredient of all! I used fresh dark sweet Northwest Cherries for my cobbler. I stemmed, pitted and halved them before adding to the dish. The halved cherries will stay somewhat intact as the cobbler cooks so that they’re juicy and visible in the finished dessert. You can quarter your cherries if you prefer.
Since it’s summer, I used fresh cherries to make this cobbler. You can use frozen sweet cherries in the wintertime: simply allow them to thaw long enough to cut them in half before proceeding with the recipe.
Vegan butter is what lends a tender, crumbly texture to the cobbler topping. You can use your favorite brand (I like Miyoko’s Kitchen a lot!).
I think cane sugar works best for sweetening the cobbler filling and topping. If you prefer to use coconut sugar, that will work, too. Because sweet cherries have so much natural sweetness and are low on the glycemic index, you don’t have to add a ton of sugar in order to make this dessert.
All purpose flour
I use unbleached all-purpose flour to make the vegan cherry cobbler. It’s my go-to for most baking. If you’d prefer to use whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour, either option will work well in the recipe. You can also use a gluten-free flour blend that you’ve used before and trust.
Don’t skip the lemon juice in the filling! I actually tested the filling without it the first time that I made the cobbler. After I tried a second batch with the addition of lemon, I became sold on its importance. The lemon juice and zest are a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of the cherries. They brighten up the flavor of the whole dish.
Storing and freezing sweet cherry cobbler
One of the nicest things about cobbler is that it freezes well. You can freeze portions of this vegan cherry cobbler for up to six weeks. The rest of the cobbler can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. In my home, at least, even generous amounts of leftovers tend not to last so long!
Vegan Cherry Cobbler
Yields: 8 servings
For the biscuit topping
- 1 1/2 cups (180 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 g) cane sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons (70 g) vegan butter
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk
For the filling
- 2 pounds dark Northwest Sweet Cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved (about 6 cups)
- 1/4 cup (50 g) cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 350 F and lightly oil a 2.5 quart baker.
To make the topping, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or butterknives), cut in the vegan butter. The butter should be in pea-sized pieces. Pour the non-dairy milk and vanilla into the center of this mixture. Mix with a spatula or spoon until the dough is moistened throughout and minimal flour remains at the bottom of the mixing bowl. You should have big clumps of dough(not a single mass, but not crumbs, either).
To make the filling, toss the cherries with the cane sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest, and salt.
Turn the cherry filling into your prepared baking dish. Dot the top with all of your topping, distributing it evenly.
Bake the cobbler for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is turning golden brown. Allow the cobbler to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Perfect cobbler pairings
It’s not summer for me without a few juicy, messy, rustic fruit desserts. I’m really excited about this one, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have. Here’s to the summer season, however different it seems this year. May it stay sweet and abundant!
This post is sponsored by the Northwest Cherry Growers. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your support!