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Here is the East Bay of California I am quite literally surrounded by cherry orchards. It’s almost ridiculous how many places I could go pick cherries within a 5 minute drive of my house. It also makes it easy to go WAY overboard and pick something like 12 pounds of cherries. Thankfully, I had an idea in mind and after many, many tests (and many days of stained red fingers from pitting cherries), I finally had a perfect red wine cherry cobbler recipe.
Wine and cherries are made for each other. Cherry is often a flavor note in wine itself, and sweetened up, thickened into a syrupy delectable dessert with a crunchy topping? It’s heaven guys, seriously.
What is a Cobbler?
I have definite plans about researching the exact differences between crisps, cobblers, crumbles and everything else in between. But it’s a rather complicated topic to be honest!
Who you ask and where they’re from can easily affect the answer to this question. Here’s mine, a cobbler is a baked dessert consisting of a bottom layer of fruit and a topping of biscuit, cookie, or cake batter. The end result is a dessert that has a ‘cobbled’ appearance on the top, often studded with the fruit bubbling through.
So which topping does this cherry cobbler recipe use? No creaming or cutting in butter here. Mix a few ingredients and pour over melted butter, bam, crisp, cobbled cake-like topping.
Alright, let’s get to the good stuff, the delicious components that come together to make this red wine cherry cobbler a possibility in your kitchen. Most of these ingredients are familiar, but there are a few specific tips I want to share.
Red Wine Cherry Filling
The magic concoction to sweet, syrupy cherry cobbler filling is a mixture of cherries, red wine, water, sugar, and cornstarch.
Cherries – You want a pound of plump, dark sweet cherries. I don’t recommend rainier or tart cherries for this particular recipe. The most difficult part is pitting the cherries. Since I made this SO MANY TIMES I invested in a cherry pitter. If you cook with fresh cherries often, then it’s worth the $10 investment. But they aren’t fool proof, double check the cherries for pits when you remove them from the pitter
Alternatively, and free, just use a paring knife, slice in half and remove the pit by hand. It’s a bit messy and time consuming, but easy.
Red Wine – As a major component, be sure to choose a wine you like to drink. I chose one of my favorite wines, a Sangiovese from from Moonstone Cellars in Cambria, California. It’s a fruit forward, easy drinking wine and I recommend something similar for your choice. Pinot Noir or Merlot are great options, and don’t worry, while the wine does affect flavor, you can choose a cheapie bottle!
Water – Remember all those tests I did? Well despite my urge to use wine alone, the balance of water and wine is essential to a dessert that is easy to eat without the overpowering burn of wine on your tongue.
I’ll be super honest here, the technique that brings this super simple cobbler topping together isn’t one I magically came across. It’s not one I’ve even ever seen. It’s ALL thanks to an heirloom recipe from my Grandma Karen. I was given a book of hand me down recipes for my bridal shower and as I tinkered with this recipe, I came across a ‘Fruit cobbler’ recipe. With a little testing to figure out some vague measurements. I had the right combo. So thanks Grandma, you made this amazing red wine cherry cobbler recipe possible. I know she would have loved it!
The topping is a simple combination of these essential ingredients: Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, one egg, and melted butter.
Make your Cobbler
Ingredients in hand and stomach growling, you are less than an hour away from red wine cherry decadence. The process is as simple as the ingredients!
Cook the Cherry filling
Once you’ve pitted all your cherries, it’s time to start assembling the filling. To start, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a pan. I prefer a wide pan with sides a few inches deep for easy stirring and no clumps.
Next, whisk in the wine and water until smooth. Be sure to get into the edges of the pan. Clumps of dry cornstarch are never a fun surprise in a dessert.
Be sure to do this in a cold pan, BEFORE you put it on the heat. Cornstarch needs to be dissolved into a cool liquid in order to thicken properly.
Finally, add in your cherries and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent burning or clumping, and bring to a gentle boil. Once it begins to boil (it will also thicken at this point), immediately remove from heat.
Can I use frozen cherries?
Yes, just be sure they are NOT tart cherries. Otherwise replace one for one. Be advised that your filling can take longer to come to a boil with frozen cherries.
Assemble the cobbler topping
The cobbler topping is likewise very simple. Maybe you’ve heard of this technique, but I found it odd the first time I made it. Now that I have, I’m pretty sure I’m never going back!
Dump your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl beat the egg then pour into flour mixture.
With a fork or spoon, combine the egg and flour. I found it simpler to do this by hand once the egg had been incorporated enough to handle. It will come together very similarly to a pie dough, with large chunks of egg and flour, like breadcrumbs.
Once it’s fairly evenly distributed (no huge flour spots or massive egg chunks) melt your butter and keep separate until assembly.
Why does this topping work?
Egg and flour are binding agents in baked goods, and sugar and butter are liquefying agents. As the pan heats up, the butter hydrates the mixture from the top, and the fruit filling hydrates from the bottom. The egg and flour get sticky and clump together, and the sugar begins to dissolve, resulting in a beautiful crunchy top on a fluffy, gooey bottomed cake topping.
Combine and Bake
Your cherries are slightly thickened and off the heat, your cobbler topping is ready. Next, prep your pan. Simply use a small amount of the butter you melted for the topping to lightly coat the inside of an 8 x 8 baking pan. Then pour in the cherries!
Sprinkle the cobbler topping over as evenly as possible, but don’t worry too much about it! Those thinner spots are where that gorgeous fruit filling will bubble up!
Then pour over the butter. Again, try to do this evenly, but I promise any dry spots will bake just fine!
Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes, or until the top is crisp and golden brown.
Can’t Wait? Eat it Warm!
This is one of those dig your spoon into, happily burn your tongue desserts. Okay…don’t burn your tongue, but don’t worry about waiting for it to cool too much. When I make this cherry cobbler recipe, I prefer it fresh out the oven with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream or a good bit of whipped cream.
It can also be enjoyed at room temperature, and that’s how it’s best stored as well. Just cover and keep for up to 3 days.
It won’t make it that long.
Let your favorite fruits inspire you!
What I love about writing this blog is really the food learning. By knowing now how to whip together a thick fruit filling and with an easy cobbler topping recipe in your pocket, you can literally make any version you like!
Throw some spices into the topping, switch out cherries for pears, swap the red wine for white. Let what you like and the flavors you crave inspire you! I can tell you one thing for sure, this won’t be the last cobbler recipe I share!
In the meantime I really hope you love this red wine cherry cobbler recipe, it’s already become a favorite around my place. Those 12 pounds of cherries are long gone already. Have fun in the kitchen and as always Happy Eating!
Red Wine Cherry Filling
- 1 lb cherries dark sweet varieties
- 1/2 cup red wine pinot noir or merlot
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt a healthy pinch
- 1 large egg
- 4 ounces butter, unsalted 1/2 cup
Start by stemming and pitting your cherries. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a wide, deep saute pan whisk together cornstarch and sugar until no clumps remain.
Stir in wine and water until smooth, being sure to scrape any cornstarch lumps from the corners of the pan. Add in cherries and place on stovetop over medium heat.
Cook until mixture just comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once mixture comes to a boil and has begun to thicken, remove from heat and set aside.
While cherries are heating up combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt for the topping in a medium bowl. Beat one egg and add to flour.
Use a fork or your fingers to mix the egg into the flour, until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
In a small bowl melt your butter then use a small amount to lightly coat the inside of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
Add cooked cherry mixture to the dish, then spread cobbler topping evenly over the top. Pour the remaining butter over the top as evenly as possible.*
Bake in oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and crisp.
Serve warm or room temperature, and store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Other Desserts You May like
Like a cup of coffee with dessert?
Try your very own Homemade Coffee Creamer!