July 30, 2008

Bowl of Cherries

Unless you’ve never visited here before, you should know that I love cherries. If you’ve ever posted a cherry recipe on your blog, chances are I’ve left a comment somewhere along the lines of “That looks awesome, I love anything with cherries in it!” I practically have cherry juice in my blood. I think I was weaned off breast milk and onto cherry juice. It’s just always been a part of me. That’s because my grandparents have a cherry orchard and every summer, (except this past one, tear) I’ve worked in the orchard, picking, sorting and selling cherries. This year the season wasn’t very long and I was busy with school and work and sadly didn’t make it to Niagara. I was lucky though that my aunt and uncle delivered a basket of cherries to me after they made the trip so I at least got a taste of my favourite fruit. I savoured every one of those cherries and ate them all myself without sharing. But it wasn’t enough! I’ve been going through cherry withdrawal lately and it’s not pretty. I’ve been getting the shakes and everything.

Most years I gorge myself on cherries when the season comes, plucking them straight from the tree and always making sure to tuck a few baskets worth into the freezer to enjoy later on. I didn’t get that opportunity this year and for the first time in my life I had to buy cherries. A little piece of my soul died as I handed over the money to buy cherries that had spent time on a truck and hadn’t been hand picked with love and care by myself or a family member. My soul died, but my taste buds rejoiced as soon as I washed the cherries and began popping them in my mouth. Béa of La Tartine Gourmande remarked on a recent post of hers that she’s been walking around with noyaux, (pits) in her mouth all day lately and that’s exactly the way things should be during cherry season. And that’s the way things are when I’m in the orchard, a mouth full of pits, cheerily spitting them out wherever I please. It’s much harder to spit pits out, willy nilly, when you live in an apartment, I had to at least make an effort to aim for a bowl or garbage pail. I even tried to freeze some of the cherries that I bought but when I ran out of fresh ones I raided the freezer before they even had time to get cold. Sigh, no cherries during the winter for me.

But wait! That’s not exactly true. This year was a particularly wet cherry season which meant there were a lot of splits in the cherries. Split cherries are still perfectly edible, but many people throw them out because they think they’re bad. Splits are just cherries that absorbed too much water, too quickly and consequently didn’t have enough time to grow to accommodate it all. Split cherries are sweet and juicy but not the prettiest ones in the basket. When you work in an orchard though there comes a point when, as much as you want to, you can’t shove anymore splits in your mouth. When that happened this year, my family started drying the cherries. What a wonderful idea! As soon as I heard this I began planning all sorts of cookies and bars and ice creams that involved dried cherries. I’m being rationed with the dried cherries though. Mom gave me one bag and kept the rest to dole out later because she knows I’ll plow through them in no time if they’re within my grasp. As a thank you, I made some of David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Ice Cream and enhanced it with Kirsch Flamed Cherries. Mom’s favourite cake is black forest, so this was a perfect flavour combination for her, (which I actually served on her birthday alongside a black forest cake). I am also indebted to my aunts who halved and pitted cherries to put in the dehydrator and will be making chocolate cherry cookies or bars for them as a thank you. All in good time.

Kirsch Flamed Cherries

½ cup dried cherries

¼ cup Kirsch

¼ cup water

Put the dried cherries and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the cherries have soaked up most of the water. Remove the pan from heat, add the kirsch and light it on fire! When the flames die out, pour the cherries and any leftover liquid into a bowl in the fridge to cool completely. Add it to your chocolate ice cream during the last couple minutes of churning so that it’s fully incorporated.

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28 comments:

K and S said...

the ice cream sounds delicious and wow! all those cherries into the dehydrator!

Manggy said...

Wow, I can't believe you have a dehydrator!! :D
The ice cream looks super-delicious; I'll have mine on a brownie please (made with the dried cherries of course) :)

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Looks great. It's funny but dehydrators have been popping up in a lot of stuff I've been reading lately. Must be a sign from the universe ;)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love dried cherries (though I don't dry them myself), and often add a few to spinach salads all year round. But that ice cream looks mighty delicious, too.

RecipeGirl said...

I'm a cherry fan too though I never really think to make many recipes with cherries. I've done the flaming cherries before (Cherries Jubilee) and that Ben and Jerry's ice cream with cherries in it. Both yummy. Your kirsch cherries added to choc. ice cream sounds rather good too.

Gemma said...

I love cherries, not much of a fruit girl normally (I know, bad) but cherries are great. Unfortunately I don't have a handy family orchard to pick them in and they are so expensive here that I can't afford to buy them very often :(

Deborah said...

I love cherries, but they are usually a bit expensive here. But now I'm having a craving for them!

Andrea said...

I've been jealous of your family's cherry orchard since reading about it at FoodieView. We have a dehydrator and would love to have some fresh cherries off the tree to dehydrate! We love them in granola and, well, just about everything!

Ginny said...

I'm a fellow cherry lover! The ice cream looks excellent! :)

Courtney said...

oh my goodness the ice cream wants me to run out and get some right now. looks great. i am a big cherry girl too, my husband is not but i guess more for me.

Valentina said...

I so agree that cherries are just divine. I missed picking up cherries this year as I spent quite a lot of the 'cherry picking season' abroad. The idea of drying the cherries is just fabulous. Absolutely loved it.Next year i will certainly practice it.

Christine Tham said...

How lucky you to have cherry seasons and farming picking! The cherries we got cost Singapore $8.00 for 100 gm eqiv US$6

Y said...

Chocolate ice cream with cherries! YUUUUMM!!!

Linda F said...

I adore cherries too, they have too short a season here as well :( I load up and preserve lots but havent thought to dry them, not a bad idea!

cookworm said...

I am totally with you on the cherries. I bought 8 pounds of sour cherries this year, which cost a small fortune...but I don't regret it one bit!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

You are a cherry genius! That ice cream looks amazing and the fact that you managed to get kirsch in there too scores bonus points.

LyB said...

I remember when I was a kid and my dad came home from the grocery store with fresh cherries, it was such a treat! Cherries have been my favorite fruit ever since. I am drooling over that ice cream. :)

Madam Chow said...

I love cherries, too, and the kirsch flamed cherry/chocolate ice cream sounds fabulous!

jasmine said...

Oh, I know about those splits--we didn't get one single whole cherry from the tree this year. We weren't able to salvage any of them as they'd begun to go or had little nibbly marks from the thing that sleeps in the front garden.

j

Elle said...

I love cherries, too. I've been enjoying cherry season by just buying and eating the cherries. I haven't cooked with them, I'm just eating them one bowl at a time. I think though, that I need to try that ice cream. Sorry that you didn't get to go help in the orchard this year!

Katie said...

Stop showing me kitchen gadgets I don't have and now desperately want. This ice cream looks so good and makes me wish I could afford the 10 dollar a lb cherries around here.

Cakespy said...

I am in absolute cherry lust right now! The ice cream looks amazing!

Margaret said...

Cherries are so pretty.
Your mum loves Black Forest Gateau - me too - the old ones are still the best - well sometimes.
Cherries have been very expensive this year.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Wow, what a fabulous shot of the ice cream! Looks so delicious!

Joy the Baker said...

That ice cream is totally dreamy! I'm dreaming about having it for dinner tonight. Seriously! And I learned something too! I didn't know about split cherries! So interesting. thanks for the 411.

David said...

glad you liked the recipe!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I'm a big cherry fan too, although not lucky enough to have an orchard in the family! Your ice cream looks divine. Love the chocolate/cherry combo! I made an ice cream with cherries and kirsch a while ago too.

Monkee said...

Hurray for cherry lovers!! Such a great idea to have drunken cherries and chocolate ice cream.
Cheers,
Mable
mabletan.com