Cherry season is a bittersweet time for me: fresh cherries are exquisitely tasty, but I am allergic to raw stone fruits. Fortunately, cherries are just as tasty baked into desserts, and I’d like to share a couple recipes I plan to take advantage of.
First, a note on choosing the best cherry: go for the green stems! The cherries with brown stems are overripe. Also, you can keep cherries in your fridge for up to one week, but don’t wash them until just before you eat them—rinsing cherries and putting them in the fridge will weaken their skins.
Warm Fresh Cherries (with Leaves)
Starting at the barely-any-effort-required end of the spectrum, The Atlantic‘s food blog—a recent, much-loved discovery—offers up a recipe for warmed, sweetened cherries with crème fraîche. Best of all: no pitting! And check out what Sally Schneider has to say about the dish:
“You picked a cherry up by the stem with your fingers, dunked it in crème fraîche, and popped it in your mouth, working the fragrant flesh off the pit and stem. We dropped the spent leaves, pits and stems into little bowls set around the table, as you would olives pits or mussel shells. We ate the sublimely messy, almost primal dessert like children, savoring the cherries one-by-one and licking our fingers.”
Yeesh, it’s like food erotica.
For those of you who haven’t encountered a clafoutis before, Closet Cooking explains it all: “A clafoutis is a custard-like dessert where fruit, most commonly the cherry, is baked in a custard like batter that is similar to pancake batter.” Some clafoutis recipes allow you to use unpitted cherries, but I agree with Kevin: who wants to worry about biting into a pit while enjoying this dish?
I love Catherine‘s haphazard cherry cobbler recipe—what it does is demystify the whole baking process down to: 1.)See ingredient you like 2.) Imagine dish 3.) Throw some ingredients together in whatever strikes you as sensible amounts 4.) Bake. 5.) Enjoy.
I know this process doesn’t work all the time (hello shortcake that turned out as whole-wheat biscuits), but so many people think of baking as this precise chemical process. It is, to some extent, but it’s important to put down the eyedropper full of egg whites and experiment every once in a while.
So hop to it, readers! Let me know how you use fresh cherries in the comments.