Showing posts with label cherries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cherries. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Black Forest Fruit Pie #BloggerCLUE

With a lovely mix of dark fruit and a flakey crumbly crust, this delicious pie is both tart and sweet and, as the British say, goes down a treat. My husband says to tell you to serve this with thick pouring cream. Consider yourself told.

Let me start by saying that the best piecrusts are flakey. If we can all agree on that, then I will feel better about the right mess this pie became as I tried to serve it up. I mean, really. Look at it on the pie.

Not too bad, right? Then look again at that cut piece. Deep sigh. But that just goes to show you that it’s extra flakey, which means absolutely perfect. It's a special recipe from from A Spoonful of Thyme, written by the very talented Kathy, another of member of the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society. If you'd like to try it yourself, here's the recipe link.

This month our Blogger C.L.U.E. Society is hunting through our partner blogs for pie recipes or other deliciousness appropriate for Thanksgiving ahead of the upcoming holidays. My assignment was Making Miracles, written by mother extraordinaire, Rebekah. Mere weeks ago, her 16-year-old son suffered a stroke and Rebekah has been keeping it all together in a way that inspires awe. I am delighted to report that he is recovering well and asking for his mama’s mac and cheese, so that is a very good sign!

Rebekah’s blog is full of great pie recipes, like her Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie, which sounds perfect for fall. Given our still warm weather, I was tempted by her key lime pie and chocolate peanut butter refrigerator pie, but the decision was easy when I came to the one she calls Super Easy and Delicious Mixed Berry Pie. It starts with frozen fruit! And it is piled into the crust still frozen! Seriously, what could be easier?

Note: If you are feeding a crowd, Rebekah also has a Mixed Berry Slab Pie that you should check out. The same great pie in a size to feed the multitudes!


1 double piecrust dough (recipe of your choice - I used this one.)
1 1/2 lbs or 680g frozen mixed berries (about 5+ cups) (I used Black Forest Fruits which are a mix of blackberries, dark cherries, currants and grapes.)
1/2 cup or 100g sugar + 1 teaspoon (separated)
1/4 cup or 35g cornstarch
Large pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Put your frozen fruit in a large mixing bowl and pour on the 1/2 cup or 100g sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt. Stir well and leave to sit for at least 15 minutes while you roll out your piecrust.

I use one of these handy zippery thing to roll out my pie crust. I bought it one thousand years ago from the King Arthur website but, lucky for you, they still have them.

Fit the bottom crust into the pie plate and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Trim the edges so they are even. Scissors work great for this.

Give the fruit another good stir to loosen the pieces up. Mine became frozen together despite being separate when they went into the bowl. Tip the fruit into the bottom crust and spread it around evenly.

Cover with the top crust dough and crimp the edges to seal. I also cut out little hearts with a cookie cutter and then used little cut out dough hearts from the dough scraps to decorate the top. But you do you.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar on top.

Cover the edges with foil to keep them from burning and bake in your preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Tip: A pan or piece of foil under the pie plate will also save on oven clean up in case some sticky juice boils over. Didn’t happen to me this time but it’s a worthwhile precaution whenever you are baking something juicy.

Remove the foil from the crust and bake for another 50 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to cut it.


Check out all the pies and other wonderfulness from my Blogger C.L.U.E. Society members:


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cherry Lemon Jam

Cherry lemon jam is made with juicy summer cherries and fresh lemon, cooked down with lemon zest and sugar. It's the perfect jammy marriage of sweet and sharp, as delicious on a piece of buttered toast as spooned over cold vanilla ice cream or stirred into a pot of natural yogurt.

Food Lust People Love: Cherry lemon jam is made with juicy summer cherries and fresh lemon, cooked down with lemon zest and sugar. It's the perfect jammy marriage of sweet and sharp, as delicious on a piece of buttered toast as spooned over cold vanilla ice cream or stirred into a pot of natural yogurt.

One of my pet peeves is waste. That’s not to say that I don’t throw out my share of things in the refrigerator that somehow manage to work their way to the back, get forgotten, and grow legs on occasion, but it makes me sad when that happens. Especially when it’s something I really love to eat.

Here in Dubai, where temperatures rarely fall below an average low winter temperature of 57°F or 14°C, growing cherries, which require a chill time of 700-800 hours in order to flower and produce fruit, is just not an option. So all of the cherries that appear in our supermarkets are flown in at great expense from countries that enjoy near or freezing temperatures in winter.

As you might guess, those costs are passed on to consumers and cherries are crazy expensive to buy here. So one of my favorite summer rituals is buying and eating my not inconsiderable weight in cherries when I am in the States on holiday.

As I packed up to head back to Dubai this summer – and if you follow me on Instagram you know I mean that quite literally – I still had a big bowl of cherries on the kitchen counter. There was just no way I could leave those behind! So I got out the cherry pitter and went to work. Jamming is so much more satisfying than packing suitcases!

Food Lust People Love: Cherry lemon jam is made with juicy summer cherries and fresh lemon, cooked down with lemon zest and sugar. It's the perfect jammy marriage of sweet and sharp, as delicious on a piece of buttered toast as spooned over cold vanilla ice cream or stirred into a pot of natural yogurt.

Jam making is really easy, with the right tools.
A digital scale and a thermometer are going to simplify the process. One of the secrets to easy fruit jam, that is jam that sets, is to add something acidic, like lemons which have natural pectin, and to cook the fruit with an appropriate amount of sugar until it reaches a temperature of 220°F or 105°C.

Since the amount of sugar depends on the weight of your cooked fruit, I’d like to suggest you buy a digital kitchen scale. < Amazon affiliate link to the one I use, but, honestly, any scale which can toggle between metric and imperial measures will do, giving you the freedom to use recipes from all over the world. (You can measure by volume but weighing is a lot less messy.)

If you don’t have one, may I suggest you get a thermometer as well? < Once again, that's an affiliate link to mine - costs about $14 and I use it ALL THE TIME. A thermometer takes the stress and worry of “will it set?” completely out of the jam making equation. Reaching the proper temperature hasn't failed me yet.

A bunch of cherries (mine weighed 2 lbs 5 oz or 1050g unpitted, with stems, 2 lbs 1 1/2 oz or 950g without pits and stems)
2 small lemons (about one per pound or half kilo of other fruit)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Sugar - an amount equivalent to 3/4 the weight of your cooked cherries and lemons and their juice – this batch was 2 lbs 2 1/2 oz or 978g – so I used 3 1/2 cups or 734g sugar

Sterilize your jars and lids and put them at the ready, metal teaspoon in each, canning funnel perched in one, before you begin. Sterilize your ladle as well. The amounts given above made two pint jars and one half pint.

Pit your cherries and put them in a large non-reactive pot. (If you have a scale, go ahead and weigh the empty pot first and make a note of the weight for later.) Grate in the zest of your two lemons.

Cut the peels and pith (the white stuff) off of your lemons with a sharp knife. Remove all the seeds and chop the flesh into small chunks.

Scrape the chopped lemons and any juice on the cutting board, into the cherry pot.

Add the extra two tablespoons of lemon juice into the pot.

Cook the pitted cherries and lemons, covered, over a medium flame for about 15 or 20 minutes, until they have released some juice and the cherries have softened.

Use a potato masher to mash them lightly, leaving some cherries whole.

Measure your cooked fruit, juices and all, by volume or weight and then do a little math. Add 3/4 that amount of sugar, along with the salt.

My calculation looked like this:
Pot weighs 1300g empty.
With cooked cherries and lemon, it weighs 2278g.  2278-1300 = 978g.
Weight of cooked fruit and juice = 978g x .75 = 734g or about 3 1/2 cups sugar to add

Cook the fruit, sugar and salt over a medium to high heat, uncovered, till the mixture starts to thicken. Stir frequently and set your thermometer in the pot. Cook quickly until the temperature reaches setting point for jam: 220°F or 105°C.

Quickly ladle the hot, sweet jam into your prepared jars and screw the lids on as tightly as you can manage.

Turn the jars upside down and leave to cool. The scalding cooked fruit further sterilizes the jars and as the jam cools, a suction forms and the lids are firmly sealed. The little circles on the lids should pop in and keep the jam safe for consumption for many months. If any of the seals don’t create a sufficient vacuum and the circles don’t pop in, store those jars in the refrigerator.


Food Lust People Love: Cherry lemon jam is made with juicy summer cherries and fresh lemon, cooked down with lemon zest and sugar. It's the perfect jammy marriage of sweet and sharp, as delicious on a piece of buttered toast as spooned over cold vanilla ice cream or stirred into a pot of natural yogurt.

This week I am delighted to be hosting Sunday Supper with my friend and fellow blogger, Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks. It’s our goal to encourage everyone to Save Summer Harvest with a number of methods, and in keeping with the mission of Sunday Supper, to enjoy the bounty of summer around your family table for months to come.

Preserving in oil or butter

Food Lust People Love: Cherry lemon jam is made with juicy summer cherries and fresh lemon, cooked down with lemon zest and sugar. It's the perfect jammy marriage of sweet and sharp, as delicious on a piece of buttered toast as spooned over cold vanilla ice cream or stirred into a pot of natural yogurt.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Cherry Lemon Muffins #MuffinMonday

Chock full of fresh cherries with a hit of tart lemon, these muffins go equally well with a cup of tea or coffee or even a glass of milk, making breakfast or snack time special. 

I started doing Muffin Monday almost three years ago today with this Banana Bacon Peanut Butter Chip Muffin. Until these last few weeks, when I’ve been traveling, I had not missed a single week since then. Even so, this is my 150th Muffin Monday!  Muffins are so easy to bake. They can be relatively healthy, made with less sugar than a cupcake with none of the cloyingly sweet icing that a cupcake requires, the batter filled with a variety of fruit, nuts and other add-ins like chocolate, bacon, jam and cheese. Yes, the flexible muffin can be sweet or savory. If you tell me you can’t bake, I’m going to suggest you start with muffins. One bowl holds your wet ingredients, the other your dry. Mix them together and bake. Nothing is more simple yet creates a fluffy, tender baked good in under 30 minutes.

For the first time in many years, cherries in Houston are on sale for $1.87 a pound which is less than one dollar per kilo. And I just can’t get enough of them! This muffin is a celebration of the seasonal Bing cherries, brightened with fresh lemon juice and zest. I baked them yesterday morning and, after they cooled, popped them in a plastic container to take along to the beach. It was a lovely day, watching my little nieces seine for fish with their father on Galveston Bay, while chatting with my sister, mother and daughter from the high perch of their beautiful front porch, where the wind cooled us off and the sea view went on forever and ever.

2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 115g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small lemon (for zest and 4 teaspoons juice)
2 eggs
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1/3 cup or 75ml canola or other light oil
5 2/3 oz or 160g 125g pitted fresh cherries (about 3/4 cup once quartered)

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Butter or grease your muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.

Grate in the lemon zest and mix.

Juice your lemon. Quarter your cherries and set 12 pieces aside for topping the muffins.

Put the bigger pile of cut cherries in the flour mixture and toss well to cover.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and lemon juice.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just mixed through.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cups in pan.  Top with reserved cherry quarters.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  Allow them to cool for a few minutes then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Black Cherry Muffins #MuffinMonday


Cherry muffins are good, no matter what the season. Make muffins with the ones in cans and don't forget to add some of the cherry syrup for more flavor!

Today we had a baking session at my house which included savory cheddar muffins with a salami base, a dozen of Uncle Hector’s 100 Cookies (so called because there are 100 ways to make them) and then, finally, we baked a sweet muffin with canned cherries. You might think that all the baked goods were the best part, but actually, it was the chatting amongst the ladies. Such a delight to have friends around the small table in my cozy kitchen.

2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (425g or 15oz) black pitted cherries, in light syrup (drained weight 213g or 7 1/2 oz)
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml light cherry syrup (from the drained can of pitted cherries)
1/3 cup or 80ml canola oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your 12-cup muffin pan liberally with non-stick spray or butter or line it with paper muffin cups.

Measure your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Drain your cherries and save the light syrup.

Set aside 12 cherries for decoration and cut the rest of them in half.  This serves two purposes: One, it make the cherry pieces smaller and less likely to all sink to the bottom of your batter when baking, and two, it ensures that all the pits have indeed been removed. No one wants to break a tooth!

Add the halved cherries to the flour mixture and stir to coat.

Measure the milk, 1/2 cup or 120ml light cherry syrup and oil into a smaller bowl and whisk with the eggs.

Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ones until just mixed.

Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and top each one with a reserved cherry.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown around the edges and a little on the tops.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cool completely out of the pan on a wire rack.

Now invite some friends over for tea and coffee and share.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cherry Apple Crumble Tart #FoodieExtravaganza

Sweet juicy cherries tossed with tart green apples then topped with a brown sugar oatmeal crumble and baked in a slightly sweet crust, this may well be the perfect tart. 

This post is a little walk down memory lane for me. Two and a half years ago, we were living in Cairo, Egypt. Vegetables and fruit are grown all along the verdant Nile valley, an area so abundantly fertile that it makes a dramatic satellite photo. With such a proliferation of fresh produce, hardly anything is shipped in so eating seasonally is just about the only choice. And the honest truth is that the majority of Egyptians could not afford expensive imported goods.

                                                                                                                                               Photo credit: National Geographic

Isn’t that extraordinary? Lush vegetation thrives all along the river valley, in the middle of starkly barren desert. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, arable land makes up only three percent of Egypt's land mass.

Here in Dubai, we have the same issue but no Nile. There are some lovely vegetables grown in farms in the desert but they require substantial irrigation from expensively produced water and have growing months limited by the scorching temperatures of summer. Fruit trees that require cold weather to blossom are out of the question. Which brings me to cherries, which are our ingredient of the month for my Foodie Extravaganza group.

All the fresh cherries in Dubai are imported and terribly expensive so I was debating what I could make or bake with canned or dried ones. Then I remembered this lovely cherry and apple crumble tart that I baked and photographed while we lived in Cairo but had never shared. The sweet deep purple cherries add such a lovely flavor to the crisp apples. In case you are curious, visit Egypt in August or September to enjoy the abundant cherry crop.

The recipe for the crust was shared with me almost 20 years ago by my friend, Mary, who lives in the Channel Islands.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 150g cold butter
1 whole egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk

For the pie filling:
10 1/2 oz or 295g cherries
2 medium apples
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the crumble:
1 cup or 95g rolled oats
1/4 cup or 50g butter, softened
1/2 cup or 50g brown sugar
Pinch salt

In a large mixing bowl, sift your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.

Cut the butter into pieces and add them to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour, until you end up with a rather sandy texture.

Make a well in the center and add the egg, vanilla and one tablespoon of milk. Mix them into the flour with a fork.

Add more milk if it seems too dry to come together as a dough.

Knead quickly with your hands for just a few turns. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

While the chilling and the preheating are going on, let’s start preparing our filling. Pit the cherries with a cherry pitter or, failing that, three or four toothpicks taped together can be pushed through one end of the cherries to dislodge the pits. Put the cherries in a bowl that will be big enough to hold your apples, once sliced, as well.

When chilling time is up, roll the dough out and fit it into your tart pan. Mine is shallow and wide, about 11 in or 28cm across.

Prick it all over with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife to help keep it from puffing up while baking.

Line the inside of the crust with baking parchment and fill it with pie beads or dried beans. Bake it in your preheated oven for 10 minutes.

While the crust blind bakes, prepare your apples. Cut them in half and remove the cores. If you can manage to slice them very, very finely, you can leave the peelings on, otherwise, it’s probably best to peel. Slice them as thinly as you can and pile them into the bowl with the cherries.

Add in the sugar, cornstarch and salt for the filling and stir well.

In another bowl, mix together your crumble ingredients.

Once the crust has finished baking, take it out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before carefully removing the parchment and pie beads or dried beans.

Pile the cherries and apples in the crust and spread them out somewhat evenly. Sprinkle on the crumble to cover.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the whole tart is golden and the apples are cooked through.

I completely forgot to take a photo of the tart being served but I can guarantee each slice was accompanied by a healthy pour of thick cream. Because that’s how tarts must be served, according to my husband. If you want to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead, feel free.

If this is your first time joining us, the Foodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient into recipes to share with you and this month that ingredient is a Valentine's Day classic, cherries!

17 Delicious Cherry Recipes

Be sure to check out the rest of these fantastic cherry recipes!

Follow our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest board for past events and more deliciousness!