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The cherry’s appeal is everlasting. In childhood, you favored sickly-sweet imitation maraschinos, on occasion plunking a half-dozen ruby orbs into the bubbly depths of a blushing Shirley Temple.
Your tastes matured as the years passed, and so did the cherry dishes. These days, you might make your own maraschino cherries—you now prefer them a respectable shade of burgundy—and they abound in pies, compotes, and crumbles.
You may be grateful to them in your later years, too. In a study published in the current issue of the journal “Rejuvenation Research,” researchers found that elderly rats developed stronger bones when fed a melatonin-rich supplement. Melatonin is a natural hormone found in grapes, oatmeal, and—you guessed it—cherries.
Though the study’s authors stop short of hailing melatonin as a boon for bone health—more research is necessary for such sweeping statements—the findings could be good news for those suffering from osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle.
But why eat with an eye so far to the future, anyway? At the very least, an oozy cherry cobbler will warm your spirits and thrill your taste buds right now. The recipe below calls for frozen dark sweet cherries and pantry staples, so whipping up this weeknight dessert is easy. (The only thing you’ll need to snag from the store is buttermilk.)
Sweet Cherry Cobbler
3 cups frozen dark sweet cherries (14 oz; not thawed)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1/3 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
Cook all filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar begins to dissolve, about 3 minutes. Spoon filling into a 9-inch ceramic or glass pie plate (1 inch deep).
Whisk together flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in buttermilk with a fork until just combined (do not overmix). Drop dough in 4 mounds over filling, leaving space between mounds. Sprinkle topping with remaining teaspoon sugar.
Bake until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm.