“What turns red when sweet but still has a heart of stone?”
(Insert Jeopardy theme song here)
Give up? It’s Cherries!
July is the season of cherries and all over Canada from the Okanagan to Southern Ontario, to the Annapolis Valley cherry trees are laden with this tasty little fruit. Whether it’s picking them fresh off the tree or heading out to your farmer’s market, everyone is mad for cherries. And who can blame them – cherries make our taste buds slave to their sweet seductive flavour.
Cherries by themselves are divine, but these little gems are a great ingredient in the summer kitchen. Get your creative (cherry) juices flowing – prepare sweet and savoury dishes, preserve them, can them, freeze them but most of all enjoy them.
Here’s a roll down on a few ideas:
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
- Pinch of fresh nutmeg
- 1⁄4 tsp whole allspice berries
- 1 whole star anise, broken in half
- 1 lb pitted cherries
- 3⁄4 cup brandy
- 1⁄3 cup cherry liqueur
- Combine water and sugar in a large stainless steel pot.
- Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the pot and add the pod.
- Add cinnamon stick, nutmeg, allspice and star anise.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Fully dissolve sugar then remove from heat and set aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Pack cherries into sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄2 inch space from top of the jar.
- Remove the vanilla bean pod, cinnamon stick, allspice and piece of star anise from liquid.
- Stir in brandy and cherry liqueur.
- Ladle the liquid mixture over the jars of packed cherries, ensuring that the cherries are covered completely.
- Cover tightly with lids.
- Store cherries for 2-3 months before serving to allow flavours to develop.
- Once the jars have been opened keep refrigerated.
- Enjoy in your favourite cocktails.
For the Salsa:
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
- ¼ cup onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp black strap molasses
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 cups pitted cherries
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix the basil, pepper, onion, molasses, garlic, honey and ½ cherries in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add remaining cherries and pulse to chunky consistency.
For the Tacos:
- 1 duck breast
- 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
- 6 corn tortillas, lightly toasted
- 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced and tossed in 2 tbls sour cream
- 1 cup cress sprouts for garnish
- 2 cups chipotle cherry salsa
- Score the skin and fat of the duck breast with a sharp knife. Cut all the through the fat without cutting into the meat.
- Mix the chipotle chilli powder, cumin and salt and rub it into the skin side of the duck breast then cover it and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes to over night.
- Heat an oven proof pan over medium heat.
- Place the duck breast into an oven proof pan, skin side down and let it cook until the fat has rendered and skin is crispy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Place the pan into a preheated 400F oven for 8 minutes.
- Remove and let breast rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Thinly slice the duck breast.
- Layer the taco with salsa, sliced duck meat, cabbage and sprouts
- Be prepared to enjoy!
Cherry Compote and Chantilly Cream
For the compote:
- Combine cherries, juice and sugar in a stainless pot.
- Cook over medium heat until cherries soften and release their juices.
- Remove cherries with slotted spoon.
- Reduce leftover liquid to syrupy consistency.
- Cool then add cooked cherries and orange zest.
- Can be stored in the fridge for several weeks or frozen.
For the toast:
- 6 eggs
- ¾ cup 35% cream
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 loaf day old Brioche, sliced into1½ thick slices
- 8 oz sheep’s milk ricotta
- 2 tbls butter
- 2 cups cherry compote
- 2 cups 35% cream, whipped to soft peaks
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Using a serrated knife slice a pocket into the centre of the sliced bread.
- Pipe the ricotta into the pocket. Repeat for each slice.
- Place sliced bread pockets into the egg mixture, turning to coat evenly.
- In a skillet or on a griddle, cook the bread pockets in hot butter over medium heat
for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
- Place in a 350F oven for 3-4 minutes to cook through.
- Place French toast on a large plate.
- Spoon compote over top and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
- 2 tbsp almond or olive oil
- 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 lemon zested
- ¾ cup roasted almonds, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 11oz log of soft fresh goat cheese, cut crosswise into 6 rounds
- 6 cups frisee or mixed greens
- 1 cup warm lardon or bacon bits
- 1 cup pitted cherries
- 1 fennel bulb, julienned
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Whisk oil, shallot, tarragon, lemon juice and zest in small bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread almonds on a cookie sheet pan.
- Whisk egg and water in small bowl.
- Turn goat cheese rounds in egg mixture and coat with almonds, covering all sides.
- Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake goat cheese rounds until cheese is warm but not melted, about 10 minutes.
- Combine greens, lardon, cherries, and fennel in large bowl.
- Add dressing and toss to coat.
- Divide salad among 6 plates.
- Place 1 cheese round on each plate and serve.
• 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
• ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
• 1 tbls balsamic vinegar
• 1 lemon zested
• 2 cups Greek yogurt
• ½ cup chopped pistachios
- Combine cherries, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar with lemon zest.
- Stand for 1-2 hours so cherries macerate in the syrup and vinegar.
- Spoon yogurt into parfait glasses or shallow bowl.
- Top with generous tablespoon of cherries.
- Sprinkle with pistachio.
- Serve immediately
Want to know a bit more about cherries? Be sure to join Chef Donna Dooher on The Social, live on Wednesday, July 23rd on CTV at 1PM. Donna’s talking all about cherries and all of the delicious recipes above!
Eat cherries with reckless abandon!