A few weeks ago we had a crisis. While driving back from the Rockies we stopped at friends in Creston and returned with about 130lbs of intensely purple cherries. Like my sister said, it’s like we drove home with a whole person worth of cherries. And a very tasty person at that.
We had to figure out what to do with them before they went bad. After giving some to friends, we still had a lot. I couldn’t resist and immediately began baking, which is when I discovered the sore reality of pitting cherries by hand – it is a lot of work. The next day we bought a cherry pitter, which made things considerably easier, although our kitchen looked like a blood splattered murder scene after working with it.
I confess to not being too worried that we wouldn’t be able to finish the cherries, but it still seemed like the perfect opportunity for a few baking experiments.
- Cherry Brown Butter Bars: little squares peppered with juicy cherries.
- Classic Clafouti (from Pies, Pies and More Pies): a beautiful purple tart.
- Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake: a cherry cake with a twist.
- Cherry Brulee (from Best Ever Pastry Cookbook): this didn’t really work as a brulee, one might need a flamethrower for that. But as cherry tartlets they were excellent.
What else did we do with the cherries? I juiced them, we added them to salads, Gili dehydrated some and also made delicious fruit leather, but for the most we just ate them. We found that by pacing ourselves, we could ingest a good few pounds a day with no repercussions. It wasn’t before too long that I looked in the fridge and saw a sad sight: an empty cardboard box, with not a cherry in sight. Luckily we also froze some cherries, so I can experiment a little more, and I’m looking forward to next year, when I hope we’ll have even more!