Cherry season is over now, but these cherries were from our neighbour's tree. She goes to Spain every year in July, so we get our fill and leave the rest for the birds.
Napoleon or Royal Ann cherries (similar to the Rainier cherries produced in Washington State) are quite delicate and sweet and best just eaten out of hand. In my search for something else to do with them I did come across a recipe that we enjoyed - a fresh cherry tart. It came out looking like this
Nothing complicated about this dessert. Just a pre-baked pastry shell (your favourite recipe), some cream cheese mixed with sugar to taste along with a couple of spoonfuls of raspberry syrup for colour and flavour. The original recipe called for Kirschwasser which I don't care for at all so I substituted the syrup. Pitted cherries top the cream cheese mixture and a glaze of apricot jam, put through a strainer and warmed a bit to make it smoother, gives them a little shine. This tart doesn't improve with age - I'd recommend eating it within a couple of hours of making it.
Now, when you've got all these cherries, you need to pit them, right? And that can be a tough job when you don't have a cherry pitter. Next year you can bring your cherries to my house, because I DO have a cherry pitter. Two in fact.
The larger apparatus seen here the world-famous (I'm just making that up) Kirschomat (Cherry-matic) which claims to be able to pit 15 kg of cherries an hour if you're quick about it.
Kirschen entkernen, endlich spritzfrei!, it says on the box - cherry pitting, splash free at last! Phew, what a relief that must be for the modern housewife, eh? Pits fall into the plastic container, cherries go into your bowl. Easy peasy.
The little instrument of torture on the left can be used for either cherries or plums and works well if you don't have a large amount of fruit to go through. A bit messier than the other one but it gets the job done just the same. Here's a close-up.
The mother-in-law also had a couple of cherry trees of a different kind. A bowl of those yielded this cake
basic white cake with mandarine oranges and pitted fresh cherries
and this cherry chutney, lovely with some goat cheese and hearty bread or crackers
I halved the recipe, which worked fine, but I had a little culinary accident when I was making this - I decided right at the end to put in a touch more powdered ginger (being lazy and not wanting to mince more fresh ginger) and the top fell off my spice jar, depositing a lot more ginger than planned. Oh well, I still think it tastes great, even if I'm the only one eating it. I knew I should have married Anthony Bourdain. He'd eat it too.
Last but not least, the beautiful apricots we bought at the market were getting their tiny noses all out of joint so we turned them into this cake made with a shortbread crust and a quark filling. The good thing about apricots is that they will surrender their pits without much of a fight.
I have to say that I didn't care for this recipe much. And good thing too because, oops, I think I threw out the German cooking magazine I found it in. It was similar to a cheesecake recipe, but came out quite dry and the taste of the lemon rind it called for was overpowering. So not rave reviews this time, perhaps a little tweaking is in order. I do like the polka dot effect though.
So you can see that I haven't just been sitting on the couch eating bon bons and watching Oprah! And there's more fruit and vegetable goodness where that came from if I evern get around to blogging about it.
The kids are back at school today, the weather is gorgeous and I can finally get this place cleaned up after a wonderful summer holiday.
Life is good. Go hug someone.