Best Cherry Recipes
Cherry Recipes for National Cherry Month and Beyond.
As you may know, February is National Cherry month in the USA.
While in the Northern Hemisphere it's the start of the cherry season here in New Zealand the season is coming to an end. We can still get them in February... and they're still very good.
Cherries in New Zealand are a special fruit for Christmas...and they make a good color for the season.
I love cherries and want to share a selection of recipes with you. There's a recipe with no eggs and dairy...a traditional French dish and quick and easy cake. And what about adding some alcohol? Its there too! Enjoy!
Types of Cherries
Of the fresh cherries growers tend to classify them as sweet and sour but a third type is a combination of sweet and sour. Once a distinction of soft and firm was made but many hybrid cherries have blurred these differences.
Sour cherries are a bit tart but are good in tarts, jams, pickles, liqueurs and cherry brandy.
For baking with cherries candied, glazed or glace cherries tend to be preferred. Beware of 'chellies' which are cheap jelly-like substitutes for a glace cherry and, to my mind, not very nice at all.
Wild Dalmatian cherries, damasca or marasca, make the sticky maraschino liqueur. Maraschino cherries are used to decorate desserts and cocktails.
Maraschino and glace were the only cherries available while I lived in Africa but I've become a big fan of these glorious fruits. I had tasted them fresh while visiting Italy and loved them then...
Cooking with Cherries
Prepare your cherries for cooking by using a stoner and push the stones out. You can also hook the stones out with a paper clip or the U-bend of a hair clip.
Do not squeeze the stones out as too much juice will be lost.
For large quantities of cherry pitting this popular cherry stoner comes in handy. It is dishwasher safe and has a two year warranty.
You may be looking for something a little smaller in which case this quality pitter should do just nicely!
Do you like cherries?
Clafoutis comes from the Dordogne region of France...a similar dish from Kent in England goes by the name of 'Battered Cherries".
Delicious hot or cold.
- Cook time: 1 hour
- Ready in: 1 hour
- Yields: 6
- 750 g (1 lb 11 oz) black cherries
- 3 Tablespoons plain flour
- 3 Eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup kirsch (optional)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- Heat the oven to 190C/375F
- Stone the cherries. Place the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and break in the eggs. Stir and beat it well, then add the milk slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon to make a batter. Then stir in the kirsch and sugar and beat the mixture well for several minutes.
- Butter a gratin dish and put the stoned cherries in the bottom. The blacker the cherries the better. Strain the batter over them and bake for 50 minutes.
- Sprinkle with sugar and serve with cream.
Recipe: Brandied Cherries
The fruit and the brandy can be used to make all sorts of desserts, Black Forest Gateau, cherry sauce, as a liqueur and more...
Serves: Makes 1.25 kg (2lb 12 oz) with syrup
- 500 g (1lb 2 oz) cherries
- washed and pitted
- 125 g (4 1/2 oz) sugar
- or more if sweeter liqueur is required
- approx 2 1/4 cups brandy
- Prick the cherries with a fork and layer with the sugar in a sterilised jar. Pour the brandy over the cherry mixture, leaving a little space at the top. Put the lid on the jar and shake well. Repeat every day for seven days. Store in a cool, dry dark place for six months.
- You can either strain through double muslin into a bottle, keeping the cherries aside in a separate jar with some of the liquid to keep them moist. OR leave the cherries in the brandy and use as needed. This way the flavor continues to improve.
Recipe: Chilli Cherry Chocolate Cake - ...no eggs, no dairy!
Anna makes yummy cakes for us at the markets in Christchurch and she has agreed to share her favorite recipe with you all. Anna points out that this recipe is dairy and egg free so very suited to vegans...except for the ganache (just exclude the topping).
Photo by Anna
- 3 Cups of flour
- 5 Tablespoons good quality cocoa
- 2 Teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 Cups caster sugar
- 2 Teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 Cup oil
- 1 3/4 Cup weak coffee or water
- 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Cup of pitted cherries
- roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 170C / 350F. Line two 26 cm / 10 inch cake tins with baking paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients, except for the cherries.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well. Things will start to fizz and foam...this is the baking soda reacting with the vinegar!
- Mix in the cherries, then pour into prepared tins. Bake for about 40 minutes, but check after 30 minutes as baking times always differ.
- Cake should just spring back when lightly pressed, or you can test with a skewer. If it comes out clean it is ready!
- Cool cakes before icing.
- Anna likes to layer and top the cakes with a chocolate ganache made with equal quantities of cream and dark chocolate. Heat the credam until almost boiling then pour over chopped chocolate. Leave for a minute or two, then stir to make a smooth velvety ganache. Cool a little before using. If you like you can add a pinch of chilli powder to the cream.
- Top the cake with fresh cherries and marvel at your glorious creation!
Do you use glace (candied) cherries?
Recipe: Almond Cherry Cake
Usually cooked in a ribbed gugelhupf tin but a ring tin would do. If using a ring tin cooking time needs to be reduced.
Photo is from NZ Chelsea Quick n Easy Cookbook
- 150 g (5 oz) Softened butter
- 3/4 Cup milk
- 3 Eggs
- 1/4 Teaspoon almond essence
- 1 Cup caster sugar
- 1/2 Cup ground almonds
- 1 1/2 Cups flour
- 3 Teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 Cup chopped glace cherries
- Icing sugar
- Place butter, milk, eggs, almond essence, caster sugar and almonds into the bowl of an electric mixer. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape bowl down then increase speed to medium, beating for a further 4 minutes. Fold in cherries. Pour into a well greased gugelhupf tin.
- Bake at 160C / 325F for 55 to 60 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to the cooling rack. Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar.
A heavy gauge quality non-stick tin which has a 5 year warranty.
You may know this tin by its later North American version called a Bundt tin or pan.
Cherries can be Frozen
The dark red and 'black' varieties are the best for freezing. They must be handled quickly to prevent color and flavor changes. Only use tree ripened fruit and remove the pits...they will give an almond flavor to the cherries when frozen.
Cherries can be frozen whole, crushed and in juice.
Photo by Lyn Bell