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Archive for August, 2010

Cherries at Borough Market

It’s true: I’m in the midst of a torrid love affair.

I’m consumed with desire, can’t think of anything else.

Morning, noon and night.

24/7.

My mind and heart are racing.

And the cause of my affliction? Why, a deep red fruit with a tiny hole punched through it (if you’re as obsessed as I am, I can’t recommend this enough).

I’m hopelessly devoted to the sweet cherry (and there’s little doubt I would be equally devoted to the sour cherry if I could find it in London).

Stewed cherries in red wine on top of fresh Greek yoghurt, candied cherries over ice cream, cherry brown butter bars, cherry pies, and cherries stolen straight from the punnet. I have had and dreamed about them all over the past two months. And now I’ll document a few of my favourite concoctions, so that when the season draws to a close (no, no, no!), I can look back and remember our whirlwind romance in the summer of 2010.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

Cherry Brown Butter Bars
From  Smitten Kitchen

For the crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet.

Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries, which will yield 12 ounces of pitted cherries, which yielded some leftovers, perfect for snacking (alternately, you can use 12 ounces of the berry of your choice)

Cook butter in heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see the color changing, which happens quickly) over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

Arrange pitted cherries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (though, of course, this took less time in my hyperactive oven so please watch your baking times carefully). Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove cooled bars from pan and place them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife.

Yield: I made 9 fairly large bars (for gluttons like me), but Deb was able to swing 16 2-inch square bars. The choice is yours!

Cherries in Red Wine Syrup

Cherries in Red Wine Syrup
From David Lebovitz

1 pound (450g) fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130g) sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) red wine
2 teaspoons corn starch or potato starch
2 tablespoons red wine or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tablespoon kirsch

Put the cherries and sugar in a large, wide saucepan.

Mix one tablespoon of the red wine with the corn or potato starch in a small bowl until it’s dissolved and set aside.

Add the rest of the wine and the vinegar to the saucepan. Bring the heat up to a boil, then reduce the heat so it’s at a low boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes, until the cherries are completely wilted and softened through.

During the last moments of cooking, stir in the starch slurry and let the mixture boil the additional minute or so, to thicken the juices.

Turn off the heat and stir in the almond extract and kirsch.

Storage: The cherries will keep up to one week in the refrigerator. They can be frozen for up to six months.

Yield: Makes 2 cups (500g). I was able to spoon this over Greek yoghurt for breakfast for a week, and it might just be my favourite way to consume cherries. I will go back to this recipe again and again.


Quick Candied Cherries

From David Lebovitz

This recipe wasn’t quite as exciting as the one above (read: I so enjoyed downing cherries soaked in red wine for breakfast at work), but it’s so simple and so, so good. I promise. You can’t go wrong with a David Lebovitz recipe.

1 pound (450 g) fresh sweet or sour cherries, rinsed
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Remove the stems and pit the cherries.

In a large non-reactive saucepan (at least 4 quarts/liters) bring the cherries, water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil.

Reduce the heat so the cherries are cooking at a low rolling boil. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure the cherries are cooking evenly and not sticking.

Once the syrup is mostly reduced and a brilliant ruby-color, similar to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat and cool the cherries to room temperature.

After the cherries are cool, they can be refrigerated for up to one week, or frozen in zip-top freezer bags for up to one year.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

P.S. See that beautiful wooden cake stand above? It’s from Nikole, and it’s perfect. It has stood alongside the cherries as a staple in my life this summer. Thank you, Nikole!

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