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Are You Ready For National Cherry Dessert Day?

Updated on February 9, 2016
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I like to delve into the history, costuming, foods, and customs of places and holidays. World cultures and traditions are fascinating.

May 26

It's a National Holiday for Tart Pie Cherries in Desserts

Finally, Something That Tastes Good is Good for You

They are tart, or sour, cherries from the tree Prunus cerasus. Their tartness makes them preeminent for the flavor they give baked goodies like cherry pie, cobblers, and other well loved recipes we remember from our mothers and grandmother's kitchens.

While sweet cherries, from the Prunus avium tree, are best chosen for fresh eating, nothing beats a pie cherry for any recipe that calls for cherries for cooking.

Pie cherries with their tart and tangy taste create the zing that ignites a plain fruit pie into a memorable sweet summer surprise of flavor. Just the right contrast to the flaky crust of a home baked pie, or the biscuit topping of a cobbler.

Those "downhome" desserts are only two of the ways you can use pie cherries to give your table a treat in the early summer month of June, or during other times of the year if you freeze or preserve the the cherries.

Cherries are good for you, but all that cream, sugar, and pastry? Maybe not so much... but the taste!
Cherries are good for you, but all that cream, sugar, and pastry? Maybe not so much... but the taste!

Tart Cherries Have Health Benefits

Why are pie cherries good for you?

Health benefits of pie cherries include the fact that they have anti-oxidants.

* Promotes circulation

* May help you sleep better due to the melatonin content

* Helps relieve migraine headaches

* Helps prevent free radical damage

* Helps you heal faster from muscle related sports injuries

Of course there are even more cherry facts:

Tart cherries are good for preventing gout. They say "six cherries a day" will keep the gout away, and it is certainly a delicious remedy to try. Research indicates that cherries have urate lowering properties. Uric acid crystal buildup is indicated in the onset of gout.

( This is not medical advice, but information about the research results on the benefits of tart cherries).

Tart Cherries for Health

Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and help fight cancer and heart disease. They're also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging. And to top it off, they're high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. [1]

Besides pie, cobbler, or cherry dump cake, how can you fix this fruit as a dessert?

Try it

  • with yogurt
  • with sherbet or gelato
  • baked into oatmeal

Because of their tartness, most people will want to sweeten them.

The old fashioned way my family made cherry pie was with a teaspoon of almond extract in the filling, but this recipe will give you an extra special result. I've used mace instead of cinnamon, as well, but I think it is the vanilla bean that makes the difference.

Serving Size

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean halved lengthwise -seeds scraped and reserved
  • 2 pounds pitted fresh sour cherries (about 6 cups) or 1 3/4 pounds frozen sour cherries partially thawed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place foil on bottom oven rack to catch any juices.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disc of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out an 11-inch round, and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate crust while you prepare the lattice strips.
  3. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out second disc of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Trim to make a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a clean ruler as a guide, cut 16 strips (each 12 inches long and 1/2 inch wide) with a fluted pastry wheel or a sharp knife. Place strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until cold, about 10 minutes.
  4. Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub vanilla seeds into sugar mixture. Add cherries, and toss. Pour cherry mixture into prepared pie plate. Dot top with butter. Lightly brush exposed edge of crust with egg.
  5. Make the lattice: Lay 8 strips of dough across pie. Fold back every other strip. Lay another strip perpendicular in center of pie. Unfold the strips over perpendicular strip. Fold back the strips that are under the perpendicular strip. Lay a second perpendicular strip next to the first. Unfold the strips over the second perpendicular strip. Repeat, weaving strips across half the pie. Return to center, lay a perpendicular strip on unwoven side of pie, and repeat. Trim strips to make a 1-inch overhang. Tuck extra under rim of crust, and crimp to seal. Brush lattice with egg.
  6. Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling (if using fresh cherries, begin checking after 1 hour; if using frozen, it will take about 1 hour, 35 minutes). If top begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil and continue to cook.
  7. Let pie cool slightly on a wire rack. Meanwhile, warm jam in a saucepan over medium heat, then pass through a sieve. Brush warm pie with jam, then let cool.
Cast your vote for The Best Cherry Pie

a Martha Stewart recipe

Prepare Your Pie Cherries with Professional Quality Cherry Pitter - Pit Your Pie Cherries

If you are going to pit lots of cherries this is a professional style of machine to make the job easy. Highly rated and recommended.

Rösle Stainless Steel Cherry Pitter, Silver
Rösle Stainless Steel Cherry Pitter, Silver

Professional tool with shield to prevent splatters. completely disassembles for cleaning.

 
photo by Rusty Clark
photo by Rusty Clark

Best Cherry Cobbler - an easy biscuit topping and juicy pie cherry filling

Cherry cobbler is like an easy, messy cherry pie, but that yummy topping soaking in the juices is what makes it such a well beloved dessert cousin of the cherry pie.

Emeril uses cinnamon, but I suggest experimenting with mace or cardamom - two spices that complement the cherry flavor extremely well.

Ingredients

  • FILLING:
  • 6 cups tart red cherries- pitted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Meanwhile, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until it is crumbly. Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork just until combined. Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling. Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.
  2. Emeril's rendition of a classic

National Cherry Dessert Day

Wear a cherry patterned apron, bake a cherry pie or make some quick and easy cherry cobbler to celebrate the day.

May 26

Cherry Cobbler, Classic Recipe

National Cherry Cobbler Day is on May 17th, just in case you wondered.

History Fact About Cobblers

"The earliest meaning of the word "cobbler" refers to one who makes (or "cobbles") shoes. Sometime later, "to cobble" came to mean "to put together clumsily or roughly" (American Heritage Dictionary). This second meaning is most likely the origin of the name of fruit-based dessert known as "cobbler," in which the ingredients are thrown together with little of the precision required to make a classic fruit pie. Cobblers are thus easy to make." - The Dictionary of Americanisms


Easiest cherry summer dessert, ever

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 40 min
cherry cobbler
cherry cobbler

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups pitted fresh tart cherries
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Blend 1 1/4 cups sugar, cornstarch, cherries, and almond extract in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Continue to boil and stir for 1 minute. Pour fruit mixture into an ungreased 2-quart casserole. Place in oven while preparing dough.
  2. Measure flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Add shortening and milk. Cut butter in several times then stir until dough forms a ball. Drop dough in about 6 spoonfuls onto hot fruit. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with cream, if desired, or cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.

A cherry is a fruit with a hard seed pit which must be removed before using the cherries in baked goods. There are a number of types of gadgets to do the job, which is important to own if you have a large number of cherries to prepare.

Patterned Kitchenware - A Cheery Cherry Kitchen Motif

And healthy cherry juice an dried cherries for the cupboard.

Did you know?

Dried cherries are made from the tart cherry variety. They have iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as some melatonin- which is a hormone important biologically.

Sour Cherry Tree

Sour Cherry Tree
Sour Cherry Tree

Historical Travels of the Pie Cherry

The pie cherry has been consumed since prehistoric times.The earliest record of the cultivated cherry is recorded as having been brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, now the country known as Turkey. Romans introduced cherries into Britain before the 1st century AD, where they became very popular in the time of Henry VIII. In America, Massachusetts colonists planted the first sour cherry, 'Kentish Red', and they have since become loved here. That may even have been the variety of cherry tree that the legend of George Washington made famous, who knows?

Even though cherries are seasonally ripening in June, the Presidents Day holiday gives February the honor of being named "National Cherry Month".

Sour Cherry Soup

In Hungarian cuisine, sour cherry soup or hideg meggyleves is a cold soup served in summer menus. It was a favorite of my Grandfather. Through the immigration of people from Hungary and other eastern European countries, such recipes came to American tables, along with cabbage rolls, and poppyseed pastries.

The Celebrated Pie Cherry

Most tart cherries are grown in the state of Michigan in the USA.

Traverse City, Michigan is called the "Cherry Capital of the World" and is host to the National Cherry Festival.

In Australia, the New South Wales town of Young is called the "Cherry Capital of Australia" and hosts the National Cherry Festival of Australia.

Fun Facts About Cherries:

Cherry pits have been found in Stone Age caves.

At more than 12,000 ORAC units per hundred grams of fruit, cherries have a higher antioxidant capacity than grapes, oranges, plums, raspberries and strawberries combined.

Thomas Jefferson, grew cherries on his plantation at Monticello



More Reasons to Love Sour Cherries

Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries

Facts about Pie Cherries

  • Pie cherries keep their bright red color when cooked, naturally
  • Sour cherries, like the sweet, are picked ripe
  • Look for cherries that are plump and brightly colored, cherries do not ripen off the tree.
  • Store in the refrigerator and rinse just before using
  • Cherries are highly perishable: Their shelf life is about four days in the refrigerator.
  • Cherries can be frozen
  • They may reduce the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.
  • 20 cherries a day might keep the gout away.

A Look at the Harvest

  • Prep time: 15 min
  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 45 min
  • Yields: 8

Cherry Delight Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine- melted
  • 1 egg -beaten
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart or "pie" cherries- lightly drained (reserve 1 cup juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts -walnut | pecans | or hazelnuts
  • Cherry Sauce (see recipe)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, combine butter or margarine, egg, sour cherries, almond extract, and nuts: add to flour mixture.
  4. Bake, uncovered, in an ungreased 9-inch square pan 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cut into squares.
  5. Prepare Cherry Sauce. Serve the Cherry Delight Cake with Hot Cherry Sauce and whipped cream.
  6. Makes 8 servings.
  7. Cherry Sauce:
  8. 1 cup cherry juice
  9. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  10. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  11. 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  12. 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  13. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cherry juice, cornstarch, sugar, almond extract, and butter or margarine; cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Cherry Chipotle Spinach with Cashews - a fabulous salad

When you want the salad to be something special, serve this.

Ingredients

  • 7 fl. oz. seasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ cup cherry concentrate
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 oz. minced shallots
  • 2¼ tsp. chipotle pepper in adobo sauce pureed
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2¼ cups canola oil

Instructions

  1. Salad Ingredients:
  2. 8 cups spinach leaves
  3. 1 cup diced red apples
  4. 1 cup Mandarin oranges
  5. ½ cup dried cherries
  6. ¼ cup cashew pieces
  7. ¼ cup cherry vinaigrette
  8. for cherry vinaigrette: Blend all ingredients except canola oil. Slowly add oil and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. For salad: Combine ingredients and toss.

The Perfect Summer Dinner

Highlighted with Pie Cherries

This is an easy, yet spectacular summer season dinner. Fresh cherries are in season during late June, but you can use frozen or canned, just as well during other times of year.

Put on your cute cherry apron and get started!

The main dish for a perfect summer menu starts with a roasted chicken, to find out how to perfectly roast a chicken check out the Roasted Chicken lens. Make a sour cherry sauce to serve with it.

Menu:

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Sour Cherry Sauce
  • Saffron rice
  • Cherry Chipotle Spinach with Cashews Salad
  • Cherry Dessert...hmm which? Cobbler, Cherry Delight Cake, or Cherry Pie?

Try this recipe, from 'An Edible Mosaic', for the rice:

(Yield: 4 servings)

1 1/2 cups basmati rice

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

1 pod cardamom, crushed

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 1/2 cup boiling water

1 pinch saffron threads (or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric)

1 tablespoon boiling water

Put half a kettle of water on to boil.

Put rice in a mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water a couple minutes until water runs clear; set aside.

Add oil to a medium saucepan with a lid over high heat; once hot, add bay leaf, cloves, and cardamom pod and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add rice and salt and cook (stirring occasionally) until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add 1 1/2 cup boiling water to rice and bring to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to low, and cook 10 minutes (don't open the pot while the rice cooks).

After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer half the rice to a separate bowl.

In a small bowl, combine 1 pinch saffron threads (or turmeric, if you prefer) with 1 tablespoon boiling water; steep 1-2 minutes. Stir the colored water into half the rice (the rice will turn yellow). Serve with the chicken and cherry sauce.

Wouldn't a pair of these dress up the presentation?

Sour Cherry Season

Tart cherries ripen two or three weeks after sweet cherries. Look for them in mid to late July.

Source

Sour Cherry Sauce - for meats

This is a classic sauce for meat in Hungarian cooking. Try it with pork as well as poultry.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound sour cherries (about 3 cups) pitted
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. Boil the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over moderate heat until the mixture is reduced to a glaze. Add the wine and cinnamon stick and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Add the broth and the cherries and simmer for about five minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture, and add it gradually while stirring until it reaches desired consistency. Simmer the sauce for additional two minutes, then discard the cinnamon stick, stir in the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm, covered.
  2. from the original recipe on Epicurious.

February is...

National Cherry Month

Source

Life is a bowl of cherries, so enjoy. - Sign the Guestbook, Please

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    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 5 years ago

      Humm! Luv cherry pie! Never tried these tart sour cherry variety. Your recipes and lens makes me to wanna try tasting this tart sour cherry. You definitely found your "bowl of cherries" writing this lens. Fantastic. Thank you for sharing!

      Please; "Pay It Forward"!

    • profile image

      slotowngal 5 years ago

      Wonderful Cherry lens!! Gorgeous photos, and yummy sounding recipes.

    • malena10 profile image

      malena10 5 years ago

      I love cherries, tasty recepies and those cherries shoes, wow! :)

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I love cherries and cherry pie so much. Nice lens - very pretty!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I am falling asleep at Squidoo each night instead of eating sour cherries! Easter Blessings to you. Thank you for the sleep tip.