Tag-Archive for ◊ cherries ◊

27 May 2020 Fresh Cherry Pie

1 double crust pie dough

Cherry Filling:
2 red plums
2 pounds (6 cups) sweet cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 -1 cup sugar, to taste (1/2 cup sugar usually results in a slightly tart pie)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch cubes

1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

Approx. 1 teaspoon sugar

  1. Roll out a generous ½ of pie crust dough and place in bottom of 9-inch pie pan. Wrap pie pan containing bottom pastry with plastic wrap in place in refrigerator.
  2. Roll out remaining pastry for top crust. Place flat onto a baking sheet, cover with plastic, and place in refrigerator. Meanwhile, prepare cherry filling.
  3. Pit the cherries, and cut them in half.
  4. Cut plums in half and remove the pit.
  5. Place plum halves and 1 cup of cherries to food processor and process for 1 minute or until smooth.
  6. Strain the plum-cherry mixture through a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Press down and extract as much liquid as possible, discard the solids and retain the juice in the bowl.
  7. Add the remaining 5 cups of pitted and halved cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, bourbon cinnamon and corn starch into bowl containing the puree. Stir to combine. Let mixture stand for 15 minutes to meld flavors.
  8. Remove bottom crust from refrigerator. Pour cherry mixture into to dough-lined pie plate. Scatter 1/4? butter cubes evenly over filling.
  9. Remove the top pie crust from the refrigerator and place on top of pie.  Using thumb and forefinger, flute edges or use the tines of a fork to seal the two pie crusts together.
  10. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg and 1 teaspoon water together. Using a pastry brush, brush egg all over the top pie crust.  Sprinkle a small amount of sugar over the egg wash. Use a sharp knife to make 4-8 evenly spaced vents in top of pie.
  11. Freeze prepared pie for 20 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a foil lined baking sheet in oven to preheat.
  13. Remove pie from freezer and transfer to pre-heated baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Then reduce temperature to 350-degrees and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the juices bubble around the edges and crust is deeply golden brown.
  14. Allow pie to cool on wire rack for 4 hours before serving. Serve with a side of ice cream or sweetened whipped cream, if desired.
27 May 2020 Fresh Cherry Salsa

I am fortunate to live in an area with some remaining cherry orchards. For a few weeks each year these orchards are open for U-Pick cherries.  Seeing as how we are in the midst of a pandemic (80 days of Shelter-In-Place and counting), and U-Pick Cherries being a relatively safe outdoor activity (with masks in place), we’ve been twice in two weeks. That’s a lot of cherries!

Caution #1: U-Pick cherries are not cheap, they might even be a bit more than you’d pay in the grocery store, but they’re good, and fresh, and last a surprisingly long time.

Caution #2: If you go cherry picking, you will undoubtedly come home with more cherries than you would if you bought a bag of cherries at the grocery store or famer’s market. So bookmark a few of our very favorite cherry recipes: Fresh Cherry Salsa, Cherry-Limeaid, and Fresh Cherry Pie.

First up, Fresh Cherry Salsa. It’s surprisingly good. I ate it with tortilla chips, layered on top of grilled tri-tip, and the last was layered on top of chicken in a chicken taco. So, so good!

Fresh Cherry Salsa

  • 3 cups (575 grams/1 ¼ lbs) fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped (453 grams/1 lb./2 large)
  • ½ cup very finely chopped red onion (OK to sub sliced green onion, if preferred)
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (adjust to taste)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
  • Salt to taste

Chop everything up, combine with the fresh lemon juice and salt. Adjust the lime, salt and jalapeños to taste.  Pour into a pretty bowl and serve with tortilla chips or on ladled on top of grilled meat, or layered in a taco.

One of these might make your cherry picking life easier. I’ve had this one for years, there might be better models out there now.

25 Jun 2019 Raspberry-Ricotta Snack Cake

This cake is simply delicious, light and moist, unassuming and satisfying. It’s good for breakfast, it’s good for a light dessert, and it’s good for an afternoon tea or snack. It’s good for company, it’s good for a family treat, and it’s good for just honoring the fact that you are alive, it’s Summer, and having something completely homemade with fresh fruit is the right thing to do.

The original recipe is from Epicurious, which called for using frozen berries. I’ve only ever made this with fresh raspberries, so that is reflected in the recipe below. Others have made this cake with blackberries, blueberries, pitted and halved cherries, diced mango, and *gasp* chocolate chips.

Not being a ricotta lover, I wouldn’t have made this cake if weren’t made for me at a Cookbook Club retreat a few years ago. I loved it, the ricotta wasn’t overwhelming and is important to the character of this cake. The ricotta keeps the cake moist and light, and allows it to stay moist for two days or more.

If there are any leftover slices, wrap and freeze for an on-demand treat later on.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (188 grams)

1 cup sugar (198 grams)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

15 oz carton ricotta

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup raspberries (6 oz carton) divided use (can substitute blueberries, cherries, blackberries, small chunks of mango, or even, *gasp*, chocolate chips) Ok to add a few extra berries on top of batter.

Zest of 1 small lemon (OK to sub lime or orange zest)

Approx. 1 teaspoon white sugar, vanilla sugar, coarse sugar, or raw sugar, optional

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a 9″-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients, whisk just until blended.
  6. Stir in butter just until combined.
  7. By hand, fold 3/4 cup raspberries (or other fruit), taking care not to crush berries.
  8. Fold in zest.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining 1/4 cup raspberries (or other fruit) over top (OK to add more berries to make a pleasing design on top.)
  10. Sprinkle a small amount of sugar, vanilla sugar, or raw sugar on top of cake.
  11. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
  12. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Do ahead: Cake can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

02 Mar 2014 Black Forest Torte (Black Forest Cake)

BookThief-torte

Once a year I host a book club meeting at my house.  My night was last night.  The book was “The Book Thief” so the theme was German food.  Thanks to input from the Internet, I decided to make a “Black Forest Torte” for dessert.  I found a recipe posted on Food.com by a “real German lady”, and decided to make it, with no advance practice session (I know, living on the edge!).

The cake was a delicious show-stopper.  Just look at that picture! I haven’t made too many show-stopper cakes before so I was quite thrilled with the way this one turned out.  PHEW! And I’d like to extend a big, grateful ‘danke’ to the “real German lady” 🙂

I made a few changes to the recipe, of course:  I used pitted sour cherries from a jar, rather than fresh cherries (they’re not in season right now), and I used butter, rather than shortening, in the cake batter. I also made two 9.5 inch cake layers instead of the three 9-inch layers specified in the original recipe (I really dislike 3 layer cakes).  I modified the mixing method for the cake. I used espresso powder, rather than cold brewed espresso, in the filling and adjusted the amount of Kirsch in the filling as well. I upped the whipped cream frosting by 50%.

Now, if you make this cake, you’ll need to start three days in advance and, please, DO make this cake!

  • Day 1: Drain the cherries and soak in Kirsh.
  • Day 2: Make the chocolate layer cakes, soak the cakes in the Kirsch drained from the (now boozy) cherries.  Make the filling and assemble the layers one on top of the other.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • Day 3: Make the chocolate curls and the whipped cream frosting. An hour or two before serving, decorate the cake with the whipped cream, reserved cherries, and chocolate curls. Serve!
  • Day 4: The leftovers are yummy! I called four friends over for tea, and they all accepted, enjoyed the cake, and took slices home for their husbands!  (So far, I have cut sixteen slices from this cake, and there is one slice left in the refrigerator for my 23 year old twins to fight over.

 Black Forest Torte

Cake

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (8 oz)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder (I had Hershey’s on hand, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Mocha Buttercream Filling

  • 1/2 cup kirsch
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons instant  espresso powder
  • 2 jars of pitted sour cherries, drained (I got mine at Trader Joes-1 1/2 lbs each, most supermarkets have  1 lb. cans of cherries in the canned fruit section) OR 1 1/2 lbs fresh black cherries, pitted

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons  kirsch
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk powder (optional, but helps with stability of whipped cream icing)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate Garnish

  • One large, 3.5-4 oz. dark chocolate bar, grated or curled

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Drain the cherries then soak them in 1/2 cup Kirsch overnight. Discard the cherry juice UNLESS you want to make a non-alcoholic cake.  If you want a non-alcoholic cake (like, if children will be eating it) use the cherry juice  from the cherries instead of the Kirsch and proceed as outlined below.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  3. Drain the cherries from the Kirsh.  RESERVE the liquid!  Most of the liquid will be poured over the hot cakes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the liquid for the filling.
  4. Line the bottom of two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment. Spray the sides with “Pam for Baking”, or grease with a bit of butter or oil.
  5. Sift the dry cake ingredients together and set aside.
  6. With an electric mixer beat the shortening to soften, then add the sugar.  Beat for six minutes or until the shortening-sugar mixture is light and fluffy.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well.  Stir in the vanilla.
  8. Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat to combine. Add half of the buttermilk. Beat to combine. Add another one-third of the dry ingredients and beat to combine.  Add remaining buttermilk.  Beat to combine.  Finally, add the last of the dry ingredients and beat well. alternately with the buttermilk and mix well.
  9. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans.
  10. Bake in preheated 350 oven for approx. 25 minutes or until a cake springs back when touched.
  11. Remove the cakes from the oven.  Leave the cakes in the pans and immediately and slowly, pour some of the reserved Kirsch-cherry juice mixture over both cakes. Let the Kirsch soak in, then repeat until all but 2 tablespoons of the Kirsch-cherry liquid has been used. (The remaining 2 tablespoons liquid will be used in the filling)
  12. Let the cakes cool in their pans.
  13. Make the filling. With an electric mixer  beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the powdered sugar, salt, espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons Kirsch-Cherry juice and beat well for 3 or 4 minutes. If the filling is too thick add some extra Kirsch, cherry juice, or cream (add only an extra 1/2 tsp. at a time). The filling should be spreadable, but firm.
  14. Place the base layer on cake plate.  Spread filling over top, then cover with drained cherries (save some good, firm, pretty cherries to go on top of the cake as decoration). I took the time to place each cherry in concentric layers, which I think helped with the stability of the cake. Add the second cake on top of the filling and cherries on the first layer.  Push down a bit to secure a firm fit between the layers.
  15. Cover the cake  and let sit in refrigerator overnight for the flavors to meld.
  16. A few hours before serving place the whipping cream, powdered sugar, Kirsch, vanilla, and optional dry milk powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
  17. Spread the whipped cream frosting over all of the cake. Decorate the sides first, then the top.  If you want to be fancy, put some of the whipping cream in a Ziploc or a piping bag and pipe rosettes or swirls around top and bottom of cake.
  18. Pat the reserved cherries dry, and then place in a pretty design on top of the cake.
  19. Grate the chocolate bar or use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls. Gently, and decoratively  press handfuls of the grated chocolate onto the sides of the cake.
  20. Store cake in refrigerator until an hour or so before serving.  Serve and enjoy.  (You should get about 16 generous slices from this cake.)

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, and I hope there is a Special Occasion coming up soon so you can make this cake.  It’s a keeper!

Just in case you are wondering, and in case you are reading this because you’ll also be hosting a book club meeting based upon “The Book Thief”, I also made Kipferls. Kipferls, which are significant in the book, were left by the window for people to take home (just like in the book).  I’ll posted that recipe, too, since they were soooooo good (but soooooo expensive to make, more about that later). My book club does snacks and dessert. For snacks I had a bowl of apples, German bread with cheese and liverwurst, and soft pretzels with a beer-mustard-cheese dip (no picture of the pretzels and dip) and Stollen! To drink, we had champagne, of course.  Those of you who read the book know why.

BookThief-snacks