I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

November 20, 2012

Christmassy Cherry Cobbler

Cherries and Christmas just go hand-in-hand for me

The weather is warming, the carols are playing, and stone fruit is on the market shelves. Definitely Christmassy, and cherries are even such a lovely seasonal colour!

Here in Canberra, with our proximity to the great cherry orchards at Young, we can't seem to go down any main arterial road without coming across a cherry van pulled off to the side offering kilos or boxes of fantastically fresh cherries.
I got mine from a great character who even threw in free pit-spit bags so I could snack as I drove :) A bit trickier to master than he had made it sound!

Now cherries don't keep all that long, so despite highway nibbling, and school lunches, there was still quite a pile that I needed to use up. After a bit of a think, I went for something a bit different and decided to make a Cherry Cobbler.

Cobblers are quite an old, traditional pudding that apparently came about in colonial times due to difficulty finding the right ingredients and equipment to make the usual boiled type puddings. Instead of being enclosed or having a base like a pie, in a Cobbler a stewed fruit filling is covered with a type of dumpling dropped on top, so that when it's cooked it joins up and gives an old fashioned cobbled street effect.

I like food that looks pretty as well as tasting good, so a rustic Cherry Cobbler seemed to fit the bill, as well as involving a lot less hand work making and rolling out pastry for me. Win win, I say :)

Now the first job is to pit the cherries.

You could leave them whole, but that can cause a few issues like broken fillings or choking, so it's probably just easier to get the job done and have a clear conscience.
I used my nifty little pitter tool. You stick the cherry in one end, then press the little sticky bit down and it pushes the pit out the cherry while leaving it whole. Just to be sure and wear an apron though as it can get a bit messy if your cherries are nice and fresh and juicy like mine

Filling ingredients:

Cherries- I used a good kilo or so
Liquid, about a third to half a cup. It's not meant to be too runny- you could use water, juice, port, wine, but I used a Sour Cherry Syrup from my local deli
Sugar- about a cup or to taste
Vanilla Bean
1 tablespoon or so Arrowroot powder

Pop the cherries in a pan with sugar to taste, the split and scraped vanilla bean, and the liquid.
Cook gently until the cherries are cooked and tender, but still maintaining their shape

Make a slurry out of a tablespoon of arrowroot and some cold water.
I like arrowroot for this type of thickening as it doesn't colour the finished product. It also sets to a gel type effect that works great in acidic fruit pie fillings, but can be a bit goopy in a meat dish though. It also freezes fantastically without breaking down later.

See, gelling up nicely. It sets pretty much immediately, so stir as you go and only add a little at a time

Pop the filling into a greased pie dish

Now for the topping

This was perhaps more muffin-y than dumpling, but if you like you can replace the oil with butter or other solid fat, rub it into the flour, then add the liquids and make it more of a scone type dough

2 cups SR gluten free Flour
3/4 cup castor Sugar
1 cup lactose free Milk (or dairy free substitute)
1/4 cup Oil
1 Egg
2 tsp Vanilla
pinch of Salt

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
I don't bother to sift them, but I do stir them around a bit with the whisk to mix together and lighten it up a bit as well

Whisk together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla

Pour the wet mix into the dry mix, and stir through gently being careful not to overwork the batter

Dollop spoonful of the mix over the fruit base. The topping will expand as it cooks and join up a bit in a nice random fashion.
I also sprinkled mine with some large coffee-style sugar crystals to add some nice textural contrast to the finished dish

Lovely squishy bottom with the top ready to bake
Pop it into the oven at 200*C for about 25-35 minutes, depending on how thick you've dolloped on the topping. You want it cooked through with no raw batter underneath

And see? Just like Cobblestones!
A lovely fluffy cobbler topping with the crunch of sugar and rich ooziness of the cherry filling..... Mmmmmm....... vanilla, caramelised sugars, cherry tartness- it all smells divine indeed

A big spoon full of Cherry Cobbler, with maybe a drizzle of lactose free custard or a scoop of creamy lactose free ice cream is just what I need to get me in the mood for Christmas!

So Dear Readers, are you getting in the mood for Christmas, and what's your favourite cherry dish?



  1. Yummy, cherries are one of my favourite summer fruits, Bec. Your cobbler sounds delicious!

    1. Thanks Lizzy! It's always exciting when the local cherries are in season isn't it?

  2. Cherries are one of my favourite fruit and when you cook them like this, and they get all glossy, all the better! :D

    1. Hi Lorraine! Yes, they look so dark and gorgeous like this don't they? So hard to resist :)

  3. Yum! I love the cake like topping! So delicious. I might have to try with some stone fruit, I like fresh cherries too much to cook them!

    1. Hi Clare! I think that's a great idea! How about apricots with some almond pieces on top? Yummo! Let me know how you go with it :)

  4. That looks amazing, Rebecca and like you, seeing mangoes and stone fruit and of course cherries all make me think of Christmas too. I have a cherry stoner! But we don't have vans on the sides of roads selling boxes of cherries. What a shame. For us they are still quite expensive in the stores xx

    1. Hi Charlie! Your're the only other one who owns one that I know :) What a shame they're so expensive, it's only good here because they're so local. My dad used to feed his mangoes to the cows because it was too expensive to send them all the way down here to me :(

  5. Beautiful, Becca! I love cherry season! We'll have to look out for some at the markets this week! :)

    1. Thanks Celia! I hope you find a great bargin, you have such great markets close to you, you lucky thing you :)

  6. Cherries cost an arm and a leg here, so are too precious to cook (if you know what I mean?) We splash out for Christmas Day and have a large crystal bowl of fresh cherries to snack on.
    Your cobbler looks luscious - I hope I remember it to make in winter with some bottled cherries :-)

    1. I know what you mean for sure Janet! One of my favourite gifts I ever received was a lovely glass dish full of beautifully ripe cherries :) I think this recipe would be perfect with bottled cherries too xox

  7. Like Janet, from NZ, I find the price of cherries makes me reluctant to cook them so we just eat them. I do like to hang some on my ears on Christmas day, though - just to get into the mood! ;-)

    1. Oh Amanda, isn't that what cherries are for? Christmassy Bling at it's best! :)

  8. Beautiful!! Don't laugh at me but I've never heard of cherry cobblers until now but sounds like the perfect Christmas dessert to me. I like warm, baked, fruity desserts. Delicious! And yes, totally in the mood for Christmas already hehe

  9. I wouldn't dare laugh at you Winston, you make such lovely desserts! Christmas comes earlier every year, doesn't it? :)

  10. Thats such a lovely way to use cherries, very Christmasy too.

  11. YUM! Oooh so festive. I am SO excited for Christmas. I can't go past plum pudding with boozy creamy sauce. I'm so not a mince pie fan. This dish seems just ideal to me too. I really should get into cooking with cherries more - they're SO divine. We have a buckets loads of cherries down our way, lucky!
    Heidi xo

  12. This looks delicious. I wonder if it would work with liqueur-soaked cherries? I'm a bit obsessed with them since I wrote my latest blogpost about Maraschino cherries (the real and UNreal ones!). Thanks.