Cherry Season’s Perfect Desserts

We can’t remember a cherry season lasting SO long, with such an abundance of plump cherries. If we owned a restaurant, a bowl of iced cherries would be our featured dessert. (It’s also the perfect, surprising, understated end to a dinner party.) There is little better… …except perhaps cherries —whether sweet or sour cooking cherries — tossed in a pan with sugar, a tad of water and lemon juice, and perhaps a split vanilla bean; you can leave stems and leaves on, and the cherries unpitted. Within a few minutes, they turn from this…

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

…to this (recipe here).

Sally Schneider's Warm Fresh Cherries with Leaves

Sally Schneider

If you want to pit cherries for this recipe, or to make a tart or a crumble, there are several well-designed cherry pitters available that can pit a pound of cherries in just a few minutes, from simple handheld cherry pitter

Oxo handheld cherry pitter

 

…to more elaborate plunger-and-chute models, which we use if we have a lot of cherries to pit.

chute and plunger cherry pitter

When caught without a cherry pitter, we’ve found it is easy to pit cherries the same way we pit olives: by smashing them lightly with a can or jar. The flesh breaks open so the cherry is no longer a neat shape, but it makes the pit is easy to take out. Place the cherries in a metal baking dish with at least 2” sides when you are doing this, to prevent the juice from squirting on your clothes. Alternatively, cover them with a paper towels to catch the spray. Or you can do what a reader did:

I pitted 5 pounds of cherries watching Brazil playing the Netherlands. I had three containers. One with my washed cherries, one for the pits and one to hold the pitted cherries. I held a cherry in one hand and a chopstick through the cherry from the stem end and pushed the pit through to the other side. No other tool necessary! I would have gone faster if I wasn’t watching the TV, but this way was very enjoyable!

To make a Cherry Crumble, just follow Sally’s recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble, substituting cherries for the strawberries and rhubarb and reducing the sugar to 2 1/2 or 3 tablespoons.

To make a Freeform Cherry Tart, follow the method here. Any warm cherry dessert is good with Sea Salt Whipped Cream:

sea salt whipped cream

Sally Schneider

If you’re going to eat your own private stash of raw cherries, be sure to have a little glass to spit the pits into…(Or, if your feeling naughty, spit them into the air somewhere where it won’t matter, like the woods)…

maria's cherries:crop

 

Cherries are a moment in summer to celebrate!

 

Maria Robledo

Maria Robledo

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