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Tips for pitting stem-on cherries?


tammylc
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It's a pain in the arse if you need lots of them. I did some so I could stick a little chunk of chocolate ganache inside before tempura battering and frying. Before the end, I was wondering if they'd be just fine without the stems. :hmmm:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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just thinkin' here...could ya pit them the normal (easier) way, and then "re-stick" the stems in with the chocolate? i mean, the stems are just "for pretty", right? i'd think this could be accomplished in a rather convincing way...and muuuuuch more easily than pitting with a paper-clip. (tho i have also heard of this technique, and am off to view the video!)

edited to add--having watched the video, it looks pretty easy, if time-consuming. i'd hire my neighbor's kid to do an hour's worth of them---wearing a raincoat, n'es pas? to preserve his clothing. he's looking for chores to do for hire, and i'm fresh out of that age kid. otherwise, i'd put my own to work on those babies!

Edited by chezcherie (log)

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

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Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I pit the cherries from the side with a cherry pitter. They sometimes look a little deformed instead of nice and round. I pit the cherry from the side, let it dry, then dip in fondant, let cool, and asap I dip in chocolate. Then I take the wet chocolate dipped cherry and put it in a pan filled with shredded chocolate splinters and let the cherry dry. I like to get a spoon and drop the splinters onto the cherry and sides to give a rustic look and cover the defects (from being pitted from the side).

So I might dip in dark chocolate and then use white or milk shavings to decorate.

I like to buy the "van" cherries as they are very firm. Bings work as well. Any firm cherry for that matter.

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I pit the cherries from the side with a cherry pitter. They sometimes look a little deformed instead of nice and round. I pit the cherry from the side, let it dry, then dip in fondant, let cool, and asap I dip in chocolate. Then I take the wet chocolate dipped cherry and put it in a pan filled with shredded chocolate splinters and let the cherry dry. I like to get a spoon and drop the splinters onto the cherry and sides to give a rustic look and cover the defects (from being pitted from the side).

So I might dip in dark chocolate and then use white or milk shavings to decorate.

I like to buy the "van" cherries as they are very firm.  Bings work as well.  Any firm cherry for that matter.

I do something very similar to that, usually around Valentine's. The only difference being, once they're dipped in chocolate I toss them in pop rocks. Yes, for good or bad, I do call them cherry poppers.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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In a similar manner I use a large, old fashioned hair pin.....though a paper clip will do too. Hair pin is easier on fingers I think.

Whatever the tool it's a messy job if you are doing the dark ones.

I never did anything but eat them plain till I tried a clafouti recipe last week. Now chocolate seems like a good idea.

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Used to use the smallest melonballer, kind of circle the pitt and then pull it out with the baller facing down. Paper clip works fine too but ends up flinging pitts everywhere, including your face.

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  • 1 year later...

We had dinner last Thursday at the Inn at Langley on Whidbey Island, and the meal was absolutely fabulous. Chef Matt Costello couldn't have been more gracious (he was saddled with a ten-year-old "helper," which couldn't have been easy). He "talked us through" the meal, explaining what we were about to be served, where it came from, and what inspired him, and it really made every bite special. He is obviously a very, very happy man.

Here's my question: The amuse bouche was a Rainier cherry, pitted from the bottom (stem still intact), and stuffed with fourme d ambert cheese. I'd love to make these, but by the time I get that pit out (with my little bird's beak knife, which seemed to me to be the best tool to use), the cherry is a mess. He said that the "dishwasher" spent hours doing this job, so I'm guessing there's not a special cherry pitter tool out there that doesn't also remove the stem, but I'm posting the question in this forum just in case. I suppose I just need to practice (and eating my failures isn't all that bad). Does anybody have any tips?

Thanks.

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What a question. This is why I find EGullet so entertaining. :laugh:

I suggest going at it with the tip of an old-fashioned swivel peeler. That's a good tool for hulling strawberries, BTW. It gets out that sour white core in the strawberry.

good luck! the amuse-bouche sounds delish.

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I would go totally unconventional...make a small hole in the bottom of the cherry with your knife, then use a hairpin - also called a bobby pin - to remove the pit.

And indeed, the dishwasher bit was probably dead on. I once worked with a dishwasher who was better and faster than most of the line staff at chopping, pitting, cleaning crabs and a host of other boring jobs no one likes doing. There is nothing quite as humbling to a new line cook returning to work after a few days of to learn that the dishwasher did her job while she was gone, better and faster. Needless to say, I did not last long in that particular job :laugh:

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I've done something similar -- removing the stem and going in through the hole with a bobby pin, leaving the cherry otherwise intact -- on a couple different occasions, and some cherries just let go of their pits more easily than others. It may take some shopping trial-and-error, but hey, at least you get to eat your mistakes.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

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I use a cherry pitter from OXO Good Grips, but place the plunger at the stem end. Works well for large-ish cherries, and not at all for the small ones. Rainiers should be fine. Actually, if one cuts a small X at the bottom end, and gives a gentle squeeze, the pit may pop out :)

Karen Dar Woon

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Thanks everyone; I'll give your tips a try. Also, Mom just sent me a care package, and in it was the August issue of Good Housekeeping, with a suggestion to use a paperclip in much the same way as the bobbypin suggestions (I have paperclips - I don't have bobbypins!). I may have to go through a lot of cherries . . . :smile:

Badiane, the dishwasher also did a lot of the prepping with the chef, and helped with the very meticulous plating. It was a big room with an open kitchen - usually I don't like those all that much, since you can't usually really see much, but this one felt like someone's (very well-equipped and huge) home kitchen at the end of a large living/dining room. I'm guessing the room couldn't accommodate much more than 20 guests at a time, and there's just the one seating, apparently only two or three nights a week. Our group was at one end of a large communal table; we didn't interact with the other guests but if it had been just the two of us we could/would have. There was just the chef, the dishwasher/jack of all trades, the chef's wife (I think) and two hostesses, plus the little girl.

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I wanted to make chocolate dipped but pitted stem-on cherries for a dinner last year, and did them with the paperclip trick. Really wasn't too difficult once I got the hang of it, but I did lose a couple, so it was good that I had more than I needed.

Tammy's Tastings

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I recently read this blog post and thought it would be a cool thing to try. Hers don't look like whole cherries anymore, though, but if you're careful, you can keep the part of the cherry that comes out and use it as a plug after (assuming it's in reasonable shape).

What a cool blog! This will be of interest not only to me, but to my chemistry-teacher husband.

And now I must have an olivator!

Thanks.

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And the winner is: ChefJohnny's "X" and needlenose pliers! Worked like a charm - neat and fast. I stuffed the cherries with plain mascarpone (Trader Joe's), and they were great! That was easy - just used the old zip-lock bag-with-the-corner-cut-off technique. Lovely little bites - hard to stop at just one, and there's just something about keeping that stem on that makes it kinda elegant, y'know? (I tried photographing them, but my photography skillz aren't so hot, sorry.)

Now that I have the de-pitting technique down, I'll be having fun stuffing cherries with all sorts of things - I'm thinking chocolate ganache to start with. Ooh, and maybe hazelnuts covered with chocolate! And the whole thing dipped in chocolate! Maybe I'm getting carried away, but what the heck! :laugh:

Thanks again, everyone.

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