Pucker Up: 6 Recipes Taking Advantage of Sour Cherry Season
Sour cherries are officially in season, but not for very long — so grab them while you can. The summer fruit is only available for a notoriously short amount of time, and many people get their summer baking act together just after they’re gone. But it’s not too late and you still have time to bake. While sweet cherries are generally popped like candy, sour cherries do better when baked or cooked, and that’s what we’re helping you do today. Check out these six summery recipes that indulge your sour cherry cravings. The best chefs prepare their food according to the season, and you don’t want to miss out on the flavor sour cherries have to offer.
1. Fresh Cherry Crisp
Apples and blueberries aren’t the only seasonal fruits that taste great in sugar dessert crisps – sour cherries do, too, and when sweetened, you’ll see just how much flavor they yield. Try this Fresh Cherry Crisp from All Recipes and see what we mean. As long as you have your batch of seasonal fruit along with your baking staples, you have all the ingredients you need to impress your dinner guests with this post-dinner sweet treat. Not everyone can perfect a pie crust, but everyone can succeed at a crisp.
- 4 cups pitted sour cherries
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup shortening
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine cherries, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, and 4 tablespoons flour. Pour into 9×13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle over cherries. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
2. Sour Cherry Pie
Speaking of pies, if you are lucky enough to have some skill in that department, then this dessert is for you. It doesn’t get much better than Sour Cherry Pie from Martha Stewart, and we won’t even judge if you enlist a pre-made crust. Whatever you do, just get baking, and preheat your oven before the sour cherries go out of season. This pie comes together in no time and will get eaten even faster.
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Pate Brisee to Make Two 9-Inch Single-Crust Pies or One Double-Crust or Lattice-Crust Pie
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- 2 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted (about 6 cups), or 1 3/4 pounds frozen sour cherries, partially thawed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place foil on bottom oven rack to catch any juices. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disc of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out an 11-inch round, and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate crust while you prepare the lattice strips. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out second disc of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Trim to make a 9-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a clean ruler as a guide, cut 16 strips (each 12 inches long and 1/2 inch wide) with a fluted pastry wheel or a sharp knife. Place strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until cold, about 10 minutes.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub vanilla seeds into sugar mixture. Add cherries, and toss. Pour cherry mixture into prepared pie plate. Dot top with butter. Lightly brush exposed edge of crust with egg. Make the lattice: Lay 8 strips of dough across pie. Fold back every other strip. Lay another strip perpendicular in center of pie. Unfold the strips over perpendicular strip. Fold back the strips that are under the perpendicular strip. Lay a second perpendicular strip next to the first. Unfold the strips over the second perpendicular strip. Repeat, weaving strips across half the pie. Return to center, lay a perpendicular strip on unwoven side of pie, and repeat. Trim strips to make a 1-inch overhang. Tuck extra under rim of crust, and crimp to seal. Brush lattice with egg.
Bake until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling (if using fresh cherries, begin checking after 1 hour; if using frozen, it will take about 1 hour, 35 minutes). If top begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil and continue to cook.Let pie cool slightly on a wire rack. Meanwhile, warm jam in a saucepan over medium heat, then pass through a sieve. Brush warm pie with jam, then let cool.
3. Sour Cherry Coffee Cake
Or if you want your sour cherries for breakfast, try this Sour Cherry Coffee Cake from Lottie + Doof. You will have no problem waking up for this. Topped with a crisp sugary strudel, and spiked with sour cherries, this riff on the classic coffee cake is definitely something you should pucker up to.
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for dish
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dish
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups fresh sour cherries, pitted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-inch round baking dish, dust with flour, tap out excess.In a medium bowl, stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Set topping aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with an offset spatula. Dot top with cherries, and sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool before cutting.
4. Sour Cherry Lime Sorbet
Conversely, if you’re not interested in turning on your oven this summer, try this Sour Cherry Lime Sorbet from Serious Eats instead. This sorbet not only enlists sour cherries, sugar, and water – it also has vodka, and a splash of lime juice, too. If that doesn’t scream summer we don’t know what does.
This recipe on Serious Eats calls for Amaretti cookies, too, so if you have the time and patience to prepare your sorbet side dish, we’re including the recipe for that as well.
- 1 pound sour cherries, rinsed and pitted
- 3/4 cup (about 5 ounces) sugar
- 6 tablespoons juice from about 6 limes
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vodka (optional, see note above)
For the Amaretti:
- 3 cups blanched slivered almonds
- 1 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon almond extract or 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- Pinch salt
- Demerara or muscovado sugar, for garnish
For the Sorbet: Combine cherries and sugar in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Allow to cool fully before proceeding. Place cooked cherries in blender and add other ingredients. Puree fully, then strain. Process in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack into tightly lidded container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
For the Amaretti: Combine almonds and sugar in food processor, pulse until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients and process until a thick paste forms. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to firm. Place rack in center of oven. Preheat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Using cold, moist hands, gently roll dough into marble-sized balls. Rinse and wipe hands with a damp towel frequently to prevent sticking. Place balls and inch apart on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle generously with sugar in the raw and bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake for another 10-15 minutes. To test for doneness, cut a cookie in half. The cookies will be toasted all the way through to the center when done. Allow to cool fully before storing in airtight containers.
5. Cherry Double Chocolate Cookies
Sour cherries also taste great in cookies and when paired with chocolate, it’s no surprise that that’s when all bets are off. Epicurious has a great recipe for Cherry Double Chocolate Cookies, and though the recipe is old, this is a dessert that could never be considered outdated. Pecans, milk chocolate, and sour cherries join forces in this recipe to create a complex cookie that is in a league of its own, and even if you have some cookie purists on your hands, we trust you can convert them with this dessert.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 1/2 oz fine-quality milk chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup dried sour cherries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in upper and lower thirds. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add chocolate chunks, pecans, and cherries and mix until just incorporated. Drop 2 level tablespoons of dough per cookie about 2 inches apart onto two ungreased large baking sheets. With dampened fingers, flatten cookies slightly.
Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until puffed and set, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.
6. Dark Chocolate-Sour Cherry Brownies
Last but not least, Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry Brownies from Bake or Break to close the chapter on this sour cherry recipe roundup. We’ve already stated that chocolate goes great with sour cherries, but while we went milk with the cookies, we’re going dark with these brownies, and it’s up to you to decide which formula fares better. Set aside the chocolate chips and instead choose sour cherries to stud your brownies. Chocolate chip brownies never go out of season, but sour cherry ones do. Get ‘em while they’re hot.
- 1/2 cup chopped dried sour cherries
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Toss chopped cherries in 1 tablespoon flour. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour and salt. Set both aside. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave at 30-second intervals until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Stir in cherries. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars.