Ah, shimmery childhood memories. You know the ones, they dance and glisten around the edges, things are bigger – because you were smaller, and brighter – as memories can be, and you’re never quite sure how much truth exists in the memory versus how much is stacked and stitched-on from photos and stories told around long ago late night boardgames.
I have a shimmery, wispy childhood memory of a pool with a mermaid on the bottom, it was in the basement of a house at the edge of a cherry orchard. Both the house and the orchard were owned by a friend of my grandmother and she had the same birthday as me. We used to go and pick cherries in the summer and swim in the indoor pool with the mosaic mermaid in the winter… I think… I swam in that pool at least once and recall quite clearly thinking how odd it was to have a pool in a basement.
And then there were the cherries, from creamy-white gems with cheeks like a Moulin Rouge dancer, to almost-black orbs heavy with their claret juice, I only ever remember picking sweet cherries. There must have been sour ones somewhere near by too though as each winter a rummage through my grandmother’s basement would turn up rows of preserved morello cherries destined to be eaten straight from the jar with an antique silver spoon.
The cherry season is short and sweet in Australia, pun entirely intended. Sure, we get imported fruit each year from California around June and July, but for the local ones a brief window from mid-December to early-February is pretty much it. The crops this year are sweet and robust and I’ve been picking up a hundred grams here and a hundred grams there each time I come across a reasonably priced display. But I’d never seen a sour morello in the shops.
Needless to say, when a Tweet floated across my stream about fresh morellos in Sydney I jumped on it, and just days later a half kilo was mine.
They were petite and shockingly red, almost more like an oversized currant than a commercial cherry, and perfectly grouped in clusters of two or three. The first bite was like coming home. Piquant and just sour enough to nudge you out of the oppressive summer heat, they tasted like childhood – albeit without the good helping of sugar usually used in the canning process!
I wanted to make sorbet-and-pie-and-relish-and-bread-and-juice. I wanted to eat them by the handful now and preserve gallons for later, but alas there was only half a kilo. What to do? I had a few days earlier received an enormous bag of raw Australian macadamias in the post – food gifts equals best mail pickups ever – and it seemed like a match made in heaven.
Cake it would be.
The recipe is at the bottom of this post and it’s a good one, but while I was only able to make one treat with my precious stash of sour cherries, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the pleasure of cherry everything!
I’ve done a quick round up of some of the most delectable cherry creations out there and put them all in one place for you to drool over, because it’s just the kind of girl I am.
If you have cherry recipes you love, make sure to share them in the comments!
1. Roast Cherry Salad You know there is a whole stack of desserts in this collection, so I figured I’d start out a bit healthy with this fabulous salad from She Cooks She Gardens. In Erin’s words, it’s a ‘sweet/savory showdown heaven’ – I’m sold. If you’re in South Australia she even has a link to a site that lists all the places to pick your own fruit!
2. Ginger Shortbread with Cherry Icing If you’ve never experienced the brilliance of Steph’s dessert creations you must go check out Raspberri Cupcakes as soon as possible. These cookies are the love child of a desire for gingerbread and shortbread, but the real reason they are here is for the luscious Cherry Icing. I recon I’d thin it out and use it as a glaze instead of a filling – but either way, cherry heaven.
3. Cherry Lemonade I find virtual showers terribly endearing – especially when the recipes are created specifically with the honoree in mind – and Shawnda from Confections of a Foodie Bride has done just that. I would imagine the cherry syrup used for the lemonade would be just as delicious with an un-refined sugar substitute… and splashed into a non-expectant glass of bubbles or topped with a cheeky shot of vodka – ha! Just saying.
4. Cherry Lambic Brownies with Cherry Lambic Sauce Chocolate.Cherries.Beer. Topped with ice cream. Drizzled with a sauce of cherries and beer. I was so glad Kiersten went a bit left of field from the usual healthy-eating, vegetarian recipes found on Oh My Veggies with this one. I want someone to make them for my birthday, I might consider sharing. I might not.
5. Mulled Wine Cherry Sauce I’ve admired Lisa’s blog for quite a while and this sauce is just one example of the special creations you’ll find over at Spicy Ice Cream. Her spiced twist on cherries is drizzled over a savory holiday roast dinner, but it would make a stunning edible gift any time of year!
6. Buttermilk Waffles with Cherry Vanilla Sauce Simple and delicious, these egg-less waffles are topped with cherry sauce instead of syrup or berries – and they are all the richer for it. Like all the family-friendly recipes over at Garnish with Lemon, Anna and Lisa have hit a home run with this sauce, I can imagine it would do justice to pretty much anything it topped.
7. Triple Almond Cherry Crumble Squares This is my kind of dessert and exactly what you can expect from Angela over at Oh She Glows. Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free – yet absolutely decadent. The crust and crumble mixture sounds perfect but the Cherry Chia Jam would be a treat with pretty much anything!
8. Sour Cherry Yoghurt Cheesecake I couldn’t do a cherry list without a cheesecake and this Turkish-style one from Gourmet Kitchen Tales is it. Any cake that brings the creator to tears is a winner in my book, you know I’m a sucker for a bit of nostalgia!
9. Cherry Hand Pies When a homemade Cherry Pie Filling using both fresh and dried cherries is this simple, there’s no way you’ll consider buying the stuff in a can ever again. Not that you should have ever considered it in the first place but we’ll leave that one for another day…! These individual pies from My Baking Addiction are all wrapped up to go and Jamie recommends them for both dinner and breakfast, I like the woman’s style.
10. Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Cherries equal summer and summer equals ice cream. It’s an inevitable connection, and this creation from Spa Bettie is not only vegan but healthy enough to negate all the cake consumed in the recipes above! Apparently Kristina has a cherry tree in her yard… I think she might live in heaven.
11. Cherry Ripe Bites The first time I read Martyna’s recipe for these bites I almost drooled on my keyboard. It is not only brilliant but exactly what you can expect to find over at Wholesome Cook. Just like these little morsels, you won’t want to stop at just one post!
12. Vegan Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Cate from Girl Cooks World calls this ‘Detox Ice Cream’, it made me giggle – but who am I to argue with such obviously logical reasoning! This is a brilliant twist on a classic ice cream and almost healthy too. Everybody wins.
Photo credits: 84th & 3rd
13. Sour Cherry & Macadamia Nut Cake This cake says summer to me. It’s light enough for a January treat and lush enough to satiate that cake fix. Serve on its own, with a dollop of natural yoghurt or ice cream, or even topped with one of the Cherry Sauce recipes above!
14. Spiced Cherry Pie In an anti-Valentine’s Day fit I managed to make red, heart shaped pies. Figures. But with warm spices and a crunchy Almond & Cornmeal Crust I’m sure you’ll forgive me, because nothing says love like cherry juice running down your chin.
15. Sour Cherry, Orange and Earl Grey Hot Cross Buns I’m a firm believer that Hot Cross Buns should be available year round and while these do use dried cherries you certainly could substitute fresh ones and roast them in a low oven for 30 minutes or so. Easter is already invading the supermarkets in Sydney so it’s only fitting that I bake a batch soon!
That’s it! 15 stunning cherry recipes from an inspired group of bloggers. I think I need to stock the freezer with cherries before the season ends so I can work my way through this list all year long!
Make sure to keep an eye out for my ‘How to Pit Cherries’ infographic coming soon – no knife required, it will change your cherry-stained fingernail world forever. With that, I wish you shimmery memories, cherry-coloured dreams, and lots and lots of cake.
Sour Cherry & Macadamia Cake
This cake screams summer in Sydney. Using sour cherries from a farmer’s market and accented with raw macadamias, it would be as at home on a weekend breakfast table as it would an Australia Day barbeque celebration. Dairy and refined sugar free, pair it with a cup of tea or a cheeky scoop of ice cream for the perfect light indulgence.
- 1/2 c coconut oil, semi-firm
- 1/2 c rice syrup
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 c sparkling apple juice
- juice from 1/4 lemon
- 2 c white spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ginger
- zest from 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 c raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
- 1 c sour cherries, cut in quarters, divided
Preheat oven to 170C [340F]. Grease a 20cm [8 inch] square cake tin with coconut oil and line base and two sides with baking [parchment] paper.
In a large bowl cream together coconut oil and rice syrup. Stir in eggs one at a time, it is ok if the mixture looks a bit curdled or lumpy.
In a medium bowl sift together all dry ingredients and toss through zest, chopped macadamia nuts and 3/4 c of the quartered cherries.
In jug combine sparkling apple juice and lemon juice.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the oil/syrup/egg mixture and stir with a spatula until well combined. Mix in all the juice. Mix in remaining dry ingredients ensuring no lumps remain.
Scrape into prepared pan, smooth surface with an off-set knife or spatula and sprinkle over remaining 1/4 c cherries. Bake in pre-heated oven for 35-40 mins until top is lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 mins, run a knife around the two unlined edges of the pan, turn out onto a rack to cool completely and remove paper.
Cut into 9, 12 or 16 pieces. Serve for breakfast, afternoon tea and dessert.
- If you can’t get your hands on fresh sour morello cherries feel free to use sweet cherries but you may want to reduce the rice syrup by a Tbsp or two.
This is not a sponsored post but I do want to send a special thanks to Australian Macadamias for the bag of buttery macadamias!