This easy fresh cherry cobbler is a cinch to make, but the biscuit topping gets a rustic twist from a little cornmeal in the mix; it’s a delicious summer dessert that screams out for a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A cobbler made with fresh cherries had been on my list of kitchen goals for a while. I’d made cobblers with canned filling (good for camping when you can’t mess with pitting), but fresh was at the top of my summer cooking list.

I adapted this recipe from one by Emeril Lagasse on Emeril calls for tart cherries, but I used sweet ones and reduced the sugar. You give the cherries a head start by simmering them briefly before they go into the baking dish.

I also modified Emeril’s original by adding cornmeal to the batter, which is itself a modified biscuit dough. It’s amazing, well worth the work to pit the cherries.

If you don’t have a cherry pitter and don’t go in for single-use gadgets, you can also pit cherries with a paperclip:

Something else I crossed off my summer cook list: Smoked Fresh Cherry Hot Sauce. Buy extra fruit so you can make both.

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Makes 6 servings

For the filling:

  • 6 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

For the biscuit topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. In a nonreactive skillet or medium saucepan, combine the pitted cherries, orange juice, sugars, and cornstarch. Stir to combine.

3. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture bubbles and gets a little thick. If you’re using an oven-safe skillet you can leave the filling in it, or transfer the mixture to an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.

4. Meanwhile, make the biscuit topping. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl to combine. Add the butter and toss with your fingers until well coated in the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until reduced to pea-size pieces, about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Mix together the egg and milk and quickly stir it into the flour-butter mixture until a soft, crumbly dough forms.

6. Drop the topping by spoonfuls onto the filling. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes.

7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Vanilla ice cream is the perfect thing to scoop on top.