Since cherry cobbler features fresh fruit, you may not think of it as the most decadent of desserts. While it’s true that cobbler doesn’t usually pack in as many calories or as much fat as a slice of cheesecake or a big ice cream sundae, its sugar-laced filling and indulgent pie dough topping are normally far from light. However, by reducing rich ingredient amounts and dishing out small servings, you’ll end up with a dessert that won’t break any diets.
One of the highest-calorie components of cherry cobbler is the dough topping that caps off the dessert. In addition to being rich in butter, the topping also commonly contains a healthy dose of sugar. The cherries that fill the dessert aren’t high in calories, but they’re sweetened with enough sugar to raise the count considerably. To lighten up any cobbler recipe, reduce the amounts of butter and sugar. Instead of using dough to cover the entire cobbler, place just a few sizable dollops on the top before baking; you’ll cut close to half the calories and fat. You can also cut down the amount of sugar in the filling; taste it before you fill the dessert to make sure it’s sweet enough but still has a tart bite.
Another way to reduce the fat and calorie content of a cherry cobbler is by substituting ingredients. For example, drop biscuits typically have less fat than pie dough, so you can reduce fat grams per serving by topping the cobbler with small amounts of drop biscuit dough instead. If you’re using a batter recipe that calls for milk or cream, don’t use the full-fat variety. Instead, substitute with low-fat buttermilk or skim milk; you’ll cut fat and calories but still end up with a tasty, workable dessert.
To make enough cobbler to fill an 8-inch square baking dish, make enough drop biscuit batter for four biscuits. Combine about 4 cups pitted sweet or tart cherries, 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt. Pour the cherry mixture into the baking dish. Cut 1 tbsp. cold butter into very small pieces, and distribute the pieces evenly throughout the cobbler. Top with small dollops of the drop biscuit batter, and bake the cobbler for 30 to 40 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or until it’s bubbly.
There are a number of ways to cut fat and calories from a dessert, and ingredient substitution is just one of them. If you’re watching your weight, serve cherry cobbler in small helpings and eat it plain, without ice cream or whipped cream. Cobbler recipes tend to be forgiving, but even though minor substitutions, adjustments and ingredient reductions will work for many of them, that may not always be the case, so be aware that you may have to experiment before you find a cherry cobbler that successfully merges great taste and adequate nutrition.