Cherry cobbler for Washington's birthday

A cherry cobbler, hot from the oven, is just the dessert to make to celebrate Washington's birthday. Pitted, canned sour cherries are used for the fruit, and a biscuit-like crust is made from flour, sugar, butter, and cream. It is delicious when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped sweet cream.

This recipe comes from Time-Life's ''American Regional Cookbook'' (Little, Brown, and Co.), a wonderful collection of favorite native and regional American dishes. Cherry Cobbler 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 11/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into bits 2/3 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled 1/2 cup sugar 2 one-pound cans pitted sour cherries, thoroughly drained, 1/4 cup of juice reserved 1 tablespoon arrowroot

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt together in large mixing bowl. Add chilled butter, and with fingertips, rub dry ingredients and butter together until most of the lumps have disappeared and mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in heavy cream and mix thoroughly until soft dough is formed.

Gather into compact ball and transfer to lightly floured board. Knead dough for about a minute by folding it end to end and then pressing down and pushing forward several times with heel of hand. Now roll dough out into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. With 21/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon melted butter, sugar, 1/4 cup cherry juice and arrowroot, and stir together until arrowroot has dissolved. Add cherries, stir again, then pour entire contents of bowl into 6 by 8 by 21/2-inch ovenproof baking dish.

Spread cherries out in dish and arrange circles of dough over them side by side. Brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake in middle of oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature directly from dish. Serves 6.

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