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Sweet cherry surprises.

Dark and plump or golden and blushed, sweet cherries love the West, and Westerners love them. Feast on them now--in stunning, simple dishes

IF LIFE REALLY WERE a bowl of cherries, how delectable it would be. The next best alternative is fresh cherries, and now is the time to savor them. They are at peak supply in June and July--and Westerners are in sweet cherry country. The majority of the nation's sweet cherries grow in California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Utah, and Washington. Three varieties--Bing, Lambert, and Rainier--make up 95 percent of them.

Bing dominates in volume and popularity. This cross, developed in 1875 by Henderson Lewelling in Oregon (and named for an employee), has consistently opulent flavor and is tender, sweet, and crunchy. Lambert is as sweet and richly colored, but less intensely flavored and softer. Rainier, a golden cherry with a pretty rosy blush, has a higher sugar content than the dark cherries and is much more limited in supply. It's more costly and fragile, bruising and blemishing easily.

Select plump, firm cherries to eat or use in these show-stopping recipes; 1 pound of cherries is about 4 cups.

Gingered Cherries or Honeydew Melon

1/3 cup preserved ginger in syrup

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 cups light or dark sweet cherries with stems

1 large (4 lb.) honeydew melon

Chop ginger and mix with lemon juice. Rinse and drain cherries. Cut melon into 6 wedges; seed and place on plates. Scatter cherries on fruit; spoon ginger mixture over melon and cherries. Serves 6.

Per serving: 132 cal. (7.5 percent from fat); 1.9 g protein; 1.1 g fat (0.2 g sat.); 32 g carbo.; 20 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Cherry Meat Sauce

Ladle this lively sauce over portions of lamb, beef, pork, or poultry; the sauce is especially good with roasted or grilled meats.

1/3 cup currant jelly

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

3/4 cup rinsed, drained, pitted dark sweet cherries

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over high heat, stir jelly, vinegar, orange juice, and tarragon until steaming.

Add cherries to the hot liquid. Mix gently and remove from heat.

Spoon warm fruit and juice over meat, as suggested above. Makes about 3/4 cup sauce, 3 or 4 servings.

Per serving: 93 cal. (2.9 percent from fat); 0.4 g protein; 0.3 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 23 g carbo.; 4.4 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Spirited Cherry Soup

4 cups rinsed, drained, pitted light or dark sweet cherries

3 1/2 cups white grape juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons orange-flavor liqueur or 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel

Mint sprigs and finely cut strands of orange peel (optional)

Divide cherries among 4 soup bowls.

In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, bring grape juice and lemon peel to boiling. Add lemon juice and liqueur. Pour over cherries. Garnish with mint sprigs and orange peel. Serves 4.

Per serving: 278 cal. (4.5 percent from fat); 1.8 g protein; 1.4 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 63 g carbo.; 19 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Cherry and Cream Cheese Tart

Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch pie

1 large package (8 oz.) light cream cheese

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon kirsch

5 cups rinsed, drained, pitted light or dark sweet cherries

2/3 cup apricot jam

Roll pastry into a 13-inch-diameter round; fit into an 11-inch tart pan with removable rim. Fold excess pastry down and flush with rim; press to secure. Prick pastry all over with a fork. Bake in a 375 |degrees~ oven until golden brown, about 18 minutes (pastry shrinks). Let cool.

Mix cream cheese with sugar and kirsch. Spread over bottom of crust. Arrange cherries on cheese filling.

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan over medium heat, stir jam until bubbling. Rub through a strainer, then brush over cherries. If making ahead, chill airtight up to 2 hours. Serves 8 or 9.

Per serving: 297 cal. (36 percent from fat); 5 g protein; 12 g fat (4.5 g sat.); 45 g carbo.; 268 mg sodium; 13 mg chol.

Lattice Cherry Pie

8 cups pitted dark or light sweet cherries

About 1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie

In a large bowl, combine cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, and extract. Let stand at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour to soften tapioca; mix occasionally.

On a lightly floured board, roll 2/3 of pastry into a 12-inch-diameter round; ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Fill with cherry mixture. On a floured board, roll remaining pastry into a 6- by 10-inch rectangle. Trim off ragged edges and cut rectangle lengthwise into 6 equal strips. Arrange strips in lattice pattern over pie; trim off strips that lap over rim. Fold edge of bottom crust over lattice, flush with pan rim; flute to seal. Sprinkle lattice with about 1 teaspoon sugar.

Set pie in a foil-lined 10-by 15-inch pan (pie bubbles as it cooks). Bake in a 375 |degrees~ oven on the lowest rack until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 1 hour and 15 to 30 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature. If making ahead, let cool, cover loosely, and store at room temperature up to 1 day. Cut into wedges. Serves 8 or 9.

Per serving: 327 cal. (39 percent from fat); 3.7 g protein; 14 g fat (3.5 g sat.); 48 g carbo.; 246 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau; Johnson, Elaine
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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