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Cherries, cherries everywhere......


Mette
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Hi all,

I must share the wonders of nature (and the humble cherry) with you. In our garden is a huge cherry tree. We live right at the northernmost extreme of the habitat of sweet cherry trees, so the tree is pretty unreliable. For the five years we have been in this house the crop has never been big enough to do anything but eat them off the tree; last year we didn't get a single cherry, but this year......WHOAAAAAA. I've never seen so many cherries in my life, and they are gorgeous. The tree looks like one of those trees in a gardening book. We are eating away, the kids take them wherever they go but we've still got lots.

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Today I made my first ever cherry pie.

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It was a crust of sweet tart dough from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme. Prebaked, and filled with pitted, halved cherries tossed with sugar and a bit of corn starch. The lattice is marcipan rolled out thin and brushed with egg wash. Served with a bit of creme fraiche and some fresh cherries in the garden. VIOLA! (the crust is slightly overcooked as I got engrossed in an exciting Tour de France stage....)

The almondy crust and the marcipan lattice went very well with the cherries.

Now for the question: What else to do with cherries? Ive looked at the clafoutis thread and the plated desserts thread and I've already got some ideas. But what else. Not too involved as we are off on holiday for two weeks on saturday. Oh, do cherries freeze?

Thanks a bunch!!!!

/Mette, in cherry heaven

Edited by Mette (log)
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Cherry preserves are wonderful, and given the abundance you describe would be worth the effort. You'd have them to enjoy all winter, and could give jars as gifts.

Cherries make nice cold summer dessert soups. Ice cream (particularly nice with dark chocolate chips mixed in) and sorbet also lovely.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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So far, based on buying cherries twice, I've observed, casually, that this is the best cherry year I can remember. The cherries in the supermarkets near me are huge, plentiful, sweet, flavorful and cheap.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Cherries have been incredible. I've seen like 3 or 4 gorgeous vareities, when usually theres 1 and they dont taste great.

Cherry Jubalee (sp)

CHerry bread pudding, but instead of using bread, use LADYFINGERS

Cherry Basil sorbet

cherry filled danish and breakfast pastries. Make a cardamon dough and roll cherries and an almond paste cream cheese filling up, cut em, bake em and drizzle them with fondant.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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i, too, have noticed a surplus of delicious cherries everywhere, from groceries to farmers' markets.

there's a thread in the pastries and desserts, the plated desserts thread, for a mousse in puff pastry with a cherry compote in it. looks delicious!

cherry sorbet or ice cream

black forest cake!

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Are all of you on the East coast? I'm in the mid-west and the cherries we've been getting are big, but not particularly tastie.

Mette, I wonder if cherrie trees produce fruit similarly to apple trees. I have apple trees in my yard and what happens if you leave them on their own is: one year they'll over produce then the next year they don't have any to speak of. Theres a term for that, which I forget. I think the bumper crop steals the nutrients/energy that the next years crop needs so the following year the tree is busy rebounding and can't fruit. Also how wet, dry, cold or hot the spring is when the bees are pollinating the flowers/ fruit effects the years yeild, totally.

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My son has been after me to learn how to make Cherries Jubaliee. The cherries here are quite nice, so maybe I should try my hand at this!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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im on the east coast and the cherries also taste wonderful. I couldnt stop eating my rainier.

the trees do need to be trimmed down during the beginning stages i've read to keep a consistent production every year. When they become buds for a what will seem to be a flourishing season you should cut off like ever other one to reserve the nutrients in the soil surrounding the roots so that it has plenty of rollover in following years. It's also good to drop the buds right around the tree so they all return to the earth.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I've actually heard that it's been kind of a tough year this year in the business of cherries. They've had a lot of rain and then sun which causes rain splits. I just thought I'd share an interesting bit of info here that to avoid too many rain splits in the orchards they rent a helicopter and hover low over the cherries and shake the water out. I know they had to do that in Mosier this year. It's kind of like a really big expensive blowdryer. :laugh: Just an interesting tidbit of info.

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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In Philadelphia, the cherries available at the Reading Terminal Market -- sweet Bing-types, sour pie cherries and various old-time cherries (including one yellow variety I haven't seen before -- sorry, I don't know the name) -- have been exceptional. The sweet red cherries have been particularly sweet.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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The New York State cherries have been the best in my memory as have the washington State cherries at the supermarket. I don't know about the midwest. Apparently the cool spring helped by delaying flowering past the frost stage.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Interesting that the Okanagan cherries purchased there are good. The ones we've been getting in the city have been good but small and I have heard that we aren't going to get as many this year due to the weather. It makes me sad. Very sad. Summer is over for me when the cherries are gone.

**edited because migraine brain has taken over. can't spell....

Edited by peppyre (log)
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Oh, do cherries freeze?

A favorite treat, even when in season. Like little bites of frozen cherry heaven.

Here is an excellent use for frozen cherries especially when the temperature is over 100 as it is now in the Central California Valley. Put a cup and a half of frozen cherries, two ice cold cans of 7-UP, about four scoops of sorbet or sherbet and the juice of half a lemon. Blend it and pour it into a glass that has been sitting in your freezer for several hours. Use a spoon that has also been in the freezer. This is the most refreshing drink you will ever taste. We used to call them "freezes" but I don't see them around any more. You can also use strawberries or peaches but too me cherries make the best freezes.

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wendy, i am in indiana (about as midwest as you can get! haha...) and i have been getting some delicious, plump, firm, sweet cherries as Sam's Club! rainier and dark cherries. they say "washington cherries," though. and there's a picture of an eagle on the plastic carton? weird...

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I just made cherry ice cream from Chez Panisse Desserts -- really, really wonderful. So good that the Haagen Dazs peach and chocolate/PB ice creams in the freezer are being completely ignored. The cherries are cooked, pureed, and then added to a custard base. I added some chopped Valhrona chocolate, as well.

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Oh, do cherries freeze?

A favorite treat, even when in season. Like little bites of frozen cherry heaven.

Here is an excellent use for frozen cherries especially when the temperature is over 100 as it is now in the Central California Valley. Put a cup and a half of frozen cherries, two ice cold cans of 7-UP, about four scoops of sorbet or sherbet and the juice of half a lemon. Blend it and pour it into a glass that has been sitting in your freezer for several hours. Use a spoon that has also been in the freezer. This is the most refreshing drink you will ever taste. We used to call them "freezes" but I don't see them around any more. You can also use strawberries or peaches but too me cherries make the best freezes.

Thanks joaquin; this sounds really nice!

Fresh sweet cherries also make a great dessert or snack served alongside a triple creme cheese like Brilliant Savarin and some crusty bread.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Here's a Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake Recipe I created. (Wendy, I own the copyright. Also, I don't know how to post this on recipe gullet. Please help!)

FROSTED FRESH CHERRY LAYER CAKE RECIPE

Makes two 8- x 2-inch round layers

by Sarah Phillips

The Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake Recipe is a moist cake that's chock-full of fruit. It also offers a solution to help frustrated bakers who want to incorporate fresh fruit in their butter cakes. Many have asked for a recipe over the years on my Ask Sarah Message Board for Baker’s on my website. I have explained to home bakers that you can’t take any butter cake recipe and simply add fresh fruit to the batter; that it is hit or miss whether you have success or failure. Its inclusion adds additional sugar, juice and sometimes pectin and/or acidity, sometimes causing the cake to dip in the middle, not bake all the way through or become rubbery. It takes a specially formulated recipe and a delicate folding method to mix in the fresh fruit at the end, resulting in a luscious and moist cake. My Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake is just such a recipe.

Additionally the Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake can also be described as a “do-it-your-own-way” cake. It bakes well with canned crushed, drained pineapple or fresh ripened, peeled and pitted, chopped peaches or plums instead of cherries. Just make sure you don’t add more than 1 cup that the recipe specifies, otherwise the cake layers won’t bake right. And you can always flavor the cake any way you like; eliminate or substitute the almond extract with another extract, such as orange or lemon or instead or throw in a tablespoon of grated lemon or orange peel. On occasion, I have also added a cup of toasted, roughly chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts. The layers bake up just fine, as long as you keep the oven temperature and the baking time the same.

INGREDIENTS:

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to top

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup pitted and chopped fresh, frozen or canned cherries; pit and chop cherries the size of small peas and then measure in a liquid measuring cup

1 cup whole or 2% milk, room temperature; measure in liquid measuring cup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar or superfine sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

NOTES:

It’s best to use an electric stand mixer for this cake because it is more powerful than a hand-held electric one. Extra horsepower is needed due to the large amounts of ingredients that it has to mix.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Position oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease two (2) 8 x 2 - inch pans. You may also line the greased pans with greased parchment paper. Set aside.

>Sarah Says: For cake baking, a heavy, shiny metal pan works the best. Darker, nonstick or heavy, ovenproof glass pans conduct the oven’s heat more and darken and toughen the cake’s crust. To compensate, lower the oven’s temperature by 25 degrees F

2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Add the vanilla and almond extracts to the measured milk and combine. Set aside.

>Sarah Says: Be sure your baking powder and/or baking soda (and salt) are evenly distributed throughout the flour so that the cake doesn’t develop uneven air holes as it bakes, which can cause it to crack or fall apart. Mix them together with a large mixing spoon so they all get distributed. (A fork allows the dry ingredients to slip through the tines of the fork causing uneven mixing). Make sure you reach down to the bottom of the bowl.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar: beat the butter on low speed with a paddle attachment until softened.

Add the granulated sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes until creamy, light in color and fluffy. During beating, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl often.

4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat 20 seconds after each addition until combined. Beat the mixture for one minute on medium until it is smooth and fluffy. Stop the mixer during mixing and scrape the bowl often.

5. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 2 equal portions, alternating with the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix after each addition until JUST combined.

With the last addition of flour, mix until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and take off the mixer bowl. Add the chopped cherries and FOLD with a large rubber spatula until JUST combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.

Scrape the bowl and divide the batter evenly into the greased pans. Lightly smooth the tops.

>Sarah Says: If you overmix wheat flour when moistened, it produces too much gluten. Too much gluten toughens and dries a cake when baked. It also causes the cake to develop a peak in the middle and deep cracks on the top as well. If this happens, cut the cake into small, bite-size pieces and frost each one. Place on a serving platter and serve anyway – no one will know!

6. Bake the layers for 40 - 45 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick in the middle of each cake layer and remove. It should have a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. Lightly touch of the tops of each cake with a cupped hand until the top feels firm and gives slightly. The cake shrinks a little from the sides of the pan. It should also smell done.

>Sarah Says: Shallow cracks will develop in the top of the cake layers during baking. This is normal. Upon cooling, the cake’s top will settle down and most of the cracks will seem to disappear. The ones that are left will be trimmed anyway before frosting and won’t show.

Take the cake layers immediately from the oven to a wire cake rack and let them sit for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula or sharp knife. Invert onto wire cake rack and place upright with the support of another wire cake rack to cool completely.

>Sarah Says: A cake layer is fragile when hot when taken right from the oven and will crack easily and fall apart if unmolded too soon from its pan. Letting it sit for 10 minutes in its pan allows it to cool a bit before unmolding, preventing this from happening. If your cooling rack has short legs and sits close to the countertop, condensation easily forms between the two making the underside of the cake wet. So, prop up your cooling rack by placing a same height glass under each corner. Then air can easily circulate around the cake to cool it and no condensation will form.

Frost and Serve the Cake: When cake layers have cooled, optionally frost with the All-Purpose Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

All-purpose Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Makes 4 cups; Frosts two 8- x 2-inch round layers

This recipe makes a really buttery, creamy and delicious buttercream that goes well with any cake. After frosting the cake, smooth it with an icing spatula or table knife dipped in warm water and then dried before using.

An all-butter frosting such as this one won't hold up as well for a summer wedding as one made with some shortening, so I have provided the amounts you need.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened or 1 cup shortening and 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter for warm weather frosting

3 3/4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar (more if needed); spoon into dry measuring cup and level to top

2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

1 teaspoon clear or pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. With a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until smooth, light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until incorporated.

2. Add the smaller amount of heavy cream and beat well on medium-low speed. Add the vanilla extract. Add more cream until the mixture is stiff and creamy. Beat an additional 3 minutes on low speed until fluffy. Adjust consistency with more powdered sugar or milk.

3. Trim the cake layers so they are flat. Fill and frost the cake.

Storage: The icing and filling that covers your cake determines how you store your cake. The All-Purpose Buttercream Frosting Recipe is not perishable because the sugar in it acts as a preservative.

The Frosted Fresh Cherry Layer Cake Recipe is a good keeper and stays moist from the cherries. It can be stored, unfrosted or frosted, at room temperature for about 3 days. (Butter cakes should not be refrigerated because it dries the cake.) Store the unfrosted layers wrapped individually with plastic wrap and then in foil. Cover the frosted cake with a cake keeper or an inverted bowl so as not to mar its finish.

The unfrosted or frosted layers can be frozen for about 2 months. Wrap the layers well in plastic wrap and then in foil before freezing. Place the frosted cake in a cake box and then wrap the box in plastic and then again in foil. Or, freeze the frosted cake without a wrapper until hard. Wrap in plastic and then in foil. Thaw the unfrosted or frosted cake in its wrappers at room temperature.

Information and recipes copyright Sarah Phillips, 2004

Edited by Sarah Phillips (log)

Happy Baking! Sarah Phillips, President and Founder, http://www.baking911.com

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