Getting Fresh: Cherry Wonderful
Local cherries are here, which means that stone fruit season has begun -- and I have a date with some red flesh and a pit collection bowl this weekend.
As much as I love eating them out of hand, cherries are stellar in desserts. Now's the time to indulge your sweet tooth because these ruby-red gems are here for just a few weeks.
Of all cherry desserts, pie tops the list, but I'm also a sucker for cherries and almonds, a marriage of mysterious and wonderful proportions. The two just love each other, and I love them.
As I'm wont to do while flying, I had a stack of magazines in my lap earlier this week and put the brakes on when I spotted a recipe for cherry and almond tea cakes in the current issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Better still, they're teeny tiny, as in two bites, and use the entire cherry, including pit and stem. They looked so pretty in the picture I just had to see if they'd translate into home-cooked reality.
Success! These are the cutest things ever and pack quite an almondy punch in just two bites. The cherry tucked inside is like a surprise toy in a box of Cracker Jacks, a lil' extra sumthin'.
Just because they're called tea cakes doesn't mean they're tea time-only vittles. I can imagine some very happy Dads this Sunday biting into a handful of these precious pearls.
A few notes: The original recipe calls for 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, and I reduced the amount to 8. I think you could get away with just six or seven tablespoons and still get a buttery result.
Right now, the price of almond flour is out of control, nearly double than what I paid in the spring, around 13 bucks for a six-ounce bag. To cut costs, I recommend buying slivered almonds in bulk and grinding them at home in a food processor.
The recipe calls for a mini-muffin tin. I suppose you could wing it with a regular muffin tin, but I'm unable to vouch for the variation at this juncture. I'm assuming you'd get a batch of 12, rather than 24. And that reminds me, the recipe yields 24 cakes, rather than 30, as originally published.
Share your favorite ways of eating cherries (sweet or sour) in the comments area below.
Join me today at 1ET for a special edition of What's Cooking about my recent experiences as a volunteer chef in New Orleans.
Recipe below the jump.
Tiny Cherry and Almond Tea Cakes
Adapted from the July 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine
1 stick unsalted butter
Nonstick spray for greasing muffin tin
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups finely ground unblanched almonds
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 large egg whites
4 teaspoons kirsch, Chambord or natural cherry flavoring (I think vanilla extract would work here as well, but I'd reduce to 2 teaspoons instead)
24 sweet cherries, stem on
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffins tins. Place mini-muffin paper liner inside each cup.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to sputter, reduce heat. Cook until butter has lightly browned. Skim foam from top and remove skillet from heat.
Whisk together flour, ground almonds, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add egg whites and whisk until smooth. Stir in flavoring. Pour in butter, leaving any dark brown sediment in skillet and whisk to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup, filling about halfway. Push a cherry in each, keeping stem up. With a small spoon, smooth batter over cherries to cover. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes are golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen, and unmold. Cakes can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature overnight.
Makes 2 dozen.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: duh | June 14, 2007 11:45 AM
Posted by: Phoebe | June 14, 2007 11:49 AM
Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | June 14, 2007 11:55 AM
Posted by: LCS | June 14, 2007 12:21 PM
Posted by: Vegan Girl | June 14, 2007 12:23 PM
Posted by: Sorbet Gal | June 14, 2007 12:25 PM
Posted by: Nzinga | June 14, 2007 12:39 PM
Posted by: rm | June 14, 2007 12:43 PM
Posted by: stosh wychulus | June 14, 2007 12:43 PM
Posted by: novi | June 14, 2007 1:05 PM
Posted by: Audentes | June 14, 2007 1:23 PM
Posted by: 51 | June 14, 2007 1:57 PM
Posted by: Hungry | June 14, 2007 2:19 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | June 14, 2007 3:07 PM
Posted by: Kary | June 14, 2007 5:12 PM
Posted by: Kary | June 14, 2007 7:07 PM
Posted by: cherry girl | June 14, 2007 9:08 PM
Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 9:14 AM
Posted by: DC Cubefarm | June 15, 2007 9:59 AM
Posted by: Divine Ms K | June 18, 2007 12:04 PM
Posted by: IHateParis | June 18, 2007 2:17 PM
Posted by: adacosta | June 22, 2007 5:04 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.