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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cherry-O Mini Muffins for #MuffinMonday

When cherries are in season, there is no better fruit to add to a tender muffin. These sing of sunshine and sweetness, with bonus fiber from the cereal that also adds a delightful nuttiness. 

With my summer holidays in the States coming to a close, I thought it only appropriate to bake one last time with cherries, which have become more affordable since I baked my cherry sweet bread twist a few weeks ago. I also added some honey nut O’s in an effort to use up store cupboard items. Ditto with the whipping cream. You could probably substitute more milk for that but then the muffins won’t be as rich. And that would be a shame.

For 24 mini muffins:
1/2 cup or 90g chopped, pitted, fresh cherries
1 cup or 80g crushed honey nut O’s or similar cereal
1/2 cup or or 65g flour
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup or 60ml heavy whipped cream
1/4 cup or 60ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil
1 egg

For decoration:
6 cherries cut into quarters
24 honey nut O’s

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your muffin pans by greasing them or lining them with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and crushed cereal and stir well.

In another bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, oil and egg.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Fold in your chopped cherries.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and top each muffin with a quarter cherry and a honey nut O.

Bake in the preheated oven about 10-15 minutes or until they are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.

Look at those golden bottoms!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cherry Sweet Bread Twist for #TwelveLoaves

Sweet yeast dough filled with cherry jam and fresh cherries and baked into a golden twist is great for breakfast, brunch or tea time. In fact, anytime at all.

I’ve spoken here before about my love of cherries and summer and Paris so it won’t come as a surprise to a lot of you, but one of the things I most look forward to when I am back in the States for summer holidays, is cherries. I pick up big boxes of them at Costco and eat and eat and eat cherries till I just can’t eat any more. Then I eat some more. In the non-cherry growing places that we have been living lately, they are crazy expensive and I can’t bring myself to pay the price, even as a treat. The point of this whole long story is that I was thrilled when cherries were chosen as the Twelve Loaves theme/ingredient for June. Because I would be in Houston and could buy fresh cherries. HA! I guess I am too early because Costco doesn’t have them. And I made the rounds of my local supermarkets and kept coming up empty handed. Things were starting to get desperate and my Twelve Loaves deadline was looming, not to mention my growing depression over no summer cherries. Finally, on Sunday night we were at my sister’s for my mother’s birthday celebration and I was telling my woeful cherry-bereft tale (My family is very kind to put up with my food blogger problems.) when my sister said that HER nearby grocery store had cherries. Score! (Just don’t ask me what I had to pay for them. Desperate times, people!)

1 packet (1/4oz or 7g) active dry yeast
1/3 cup or 70g sugar
3/4 cup or 180ml very warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 – 3 1/2 cups or 375-440g flour plus more for kneading and sprinkling on your work surface
1 egg
1/4 cup or 60g butter, melted then cooled
1 cup or 310g good quality cherry preserves
12 oz or 340g ripe cherries

Put yeast in a large mixing bowl with one teaspoon of the sugar and pour in the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. If your yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.

Add in the vanilla, one cup or 125g of the flour and the rest of the sugar.  Beat until thoroughly mixed and you have a thin batter.

See that stuff on the left? Foamy yeast.

Add the cooled melted butter and the egg to the batter. Beat again.

Add in the next two cups of flour, one at a time, mixing with each addition.

When the dough gets too stiff to use beaters, switch to the bread hook or turn it out onto the counter top and knead by hand.

Continue kneading until the dough is elastic and supple.  Roll it into a ball and put it in a greased bowl (use butter or canola oil) and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes - one hour.

Meanwhile, stem and pit your cherries and chop them roughly.

I looked like someone had been slashing at my hands with a big knife. It was a blood bath!

When the rising time is up, punch down the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface, into a rectangle about 12 x 16 inches or 30 x 40cm.

Spread the preserves all over the dough with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle on the chopped cherries.

Now roll the dough up from the long side.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half lengthwise. Here’s where it gets messy because we are going to twist the two lengths together.

Turn the half rolls so the cut sides face up and twist the dough ends together on one side. Tuck them under. Gently lift one half and place it over its neighbor.

Then lift the other half and place it over its neighbor. Poke cherries back in where they try to escape as you go along. And they will try. I like to think mine would have turned out neater if I didn’t stop and wash my hands and take a photo between each maneuver, which gave it time to slump and open and release cherries.

Continue until you reach the end of the two halves, then pinch the ends together and turn them under.

Carefully transfer the whole thing to a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit your baking pan, then slide it into your pan.

Tidy up by putting escaping cherries back in the folds and using a paper towel or kitchen roll to wipe the parchment clean of jam around the dough. More is going to leak out while it bakes but we can’t worry about that.

Put in a warm place for the second rise of about 45 minutes.

When the time is almost up, preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Bake your loaf in the preheated oven about 35-40 minutes or until it is golden brown. Check it about halfway through. If it’s browning too fast, cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Do as I say, not as I do. As you can see, mine’s a bit too brown. Ironically, I was busy writing these instructions while I let it overbake.

Enjoy! My mother and younger daughter assured me that, looks aside, it was still delicious.

If you love cherries like I love cherries, this month’s Twelve Loaves is for you! Check out all the gorgeous cherry recipes from my fellow bakers:

Would you like to join us this month? Choose a recipe featuring cherries of any kind - fresh, dried, canned, jam, or preserves. Whatever you bake (yeasted, quick bread, crackers, muffins, grissini, braids, flatbreads, etc.) have fun and let's have a delicious month of bread with cherries. Let's get baking!

If you’d like to add your recipe to the collection with the Linky Tool this month, here’s what you need to do!

1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone's posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!

2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.

3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this June 2014, posted on your blog by June 30, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess.  #TwelveLoaves runs so smoothly thanks to Renee from Magnolia Days and Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cherry Muffins for #MuffinMonday #ValentinesDay

Dark chocolate and cherries make a sweet and tender muffin. These may be the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast because they are easy and tasty and pretty.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I say it early because first thing Wednesday morning I am headed off to Uganda to work as a volunteer in a local elementary school near Kampala called Masooli School.

I do have muffins ready for the coming Mondays, of course, but other than those, this space will be pretty quiet for the next two weeks. I just wanted you all to know so you don’t worry. I hope to come back with some amazing stories and photos to share. I’ll be staying in a rondavel, which is a hut of sorts made out of local materials so I don't know about electricity but I definitely won't have internet.

The plan is for me to teach basic sewing skills and handicrafts as extracurricular activities and pitch in wherever needed during the school day. As I’ve told my friends and family on Facebook, our family is sponsoring two of the students for the second year now but this is my first opportunity to go and be of help in person. To those of you who have added your monetary support to ours, thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I will send you photos, I promise!

So without further ado, I give you these Black Forest-inspired muffins. Except they are missing kirsch because I think it’s nasty. Want to defend it? That’s what the comment section is for!

3 1/2 oz or 100g cherry intense dark chocolate bar (Or sub regular dark chocolate.)
7 oz or 200g glacé or candied cherries
2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup or just over 26g unsweetened cocoa powder (I used the special dark.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 egg
 Scant 2/3 cup or 140g plain yogurt
 1/2 cup or 120ml milk
 1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin tin by spraying with non-stick spray or lining with muffin papers.

Set aside 12 cherries for decoration and chop the rest. Chop up the chocolate into small chunks.

Combine your flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your egg, yogurt, milk, oil and vanilla extract.

Add the chopped cherries into the wet ingredients and whisk again to separate the sticky pieces from each other.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stop when it’s still quite dry looking.

Add the chocolate chunks. Stir until just mixed.

Divide your batter between the 12 muffin cups.  Top each with one of the reserved cherries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to continue cooling on a wire rack.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Traditional Cherry Clafoutis

The traditional baked French cherry clafoutis is made from sweet summer cherries and a sweet eggy batter. Serve it with some cream for a really easy yet decadent dessert.

Many years ago, we lived in a beautiful old home in Paris. This one, in fact. We were visiting friends this week and I stuck my camera up over the gate to get a photo.

But what I really wish I could show you is the back garden. It wasn’t as large as the front but its walls were covered with red climbing roses and it was shaded by the generous branches of an immense cherry tree. During the summer, we would feast on sweet red cherries till we couldn’t eat any more. We made pies and jam and even cherry bounce, a sweet wine of sorts. We froze them in baggies. We gave them to neighbors. We shared them with friends. Indeed, we were amply blessed. For me, cherries ARE summer in Paris. And forever after, everywhere, cherries MEAN summer. And vice versa.

When I first saw the theme of this week’s Sunday Supper - farmers’ markets and local food - I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to take part. In Dubai, the markets are closed for the summer. With daily highs that can soar to above 46°C or 114°F, no one wants to sit outside to sell anything. And, as you can imagine, customers would also be scarce. I was delighted when we ended up with a week in Paris visiting friends, while my dear husband attended to his work-related reasons for the trip. Yay! Parisian markets are the best!

My friend's neighborhood market. Look at all those cherries! Mine came from right here.

I've added a bunch of market photos at the bottom of this post, for anyone who is interested.

And, since summer means cherries, there was no question about what I would buy at the market. My friend and I were discussing the possibilities for a recipe because we thought it needed to be something French and she said, “Clafoutis.” I replied, “Exactly what I was thinking.” Great minds. And when an American and a Scotswoman in Paris are cooking French, whom else could we turn to but Julia Child? This recipe is from her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia will never steer you wrong.

Butter for greasing the pan
1 1/4 cups or 295ml milk
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 63g flour
15 oz or 425g fresh sweet cherries
1/3 cup or 75g sugar
Powdered sugar or heavy cream for serving, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your baking pan by buttering it liberally.

Pit your cherries. If you don’t have a cherry pitter, simply tape four toothpicks together and use them to push the pit though from the stem end and out the bottom. Your hands will look like you killed someone but the cherry juice does wash off with just a little staining. Do protect your clothing, which will not be as fortunate.

In a blender or liquidizer, blend the milk, the first 1/3 cup or 75g sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour. I used the hand blender since it’s easier to clean, but I must confess, its measuring vessel was a bit too full and I had to blend veeerrry carefully not to spill. Just listen to Julia and ignore my photos. Use the blender.

Pour a 1/4 inch or 2/3cm layer of the batter in your buttered baking dish.

Bake in the oven about 5-7 minutes or until the batter just sets in the pan. Jiggle the pan to check. Remove from the oven and scatter your cherries evenly over the batter.

Sprinkle on the second 1/3 cup or 75g sugar.

Pour on the rest of the batter.

Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the clafoutis is puffed and golden and a knife plunged in the center comes out clean.

It falls again after just a few minutes but still tastes the same so don’t worry.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with heavy cream and serve warm.


Appetizers & Salads
Soups & Sides

Marché du Pont de l'Alma

Here are a few photos of the market. And you might have guessed I didn't buy just cherries. :) The wonderful produce is hard to resist.