I spend all year dreaming about summer produce, especially our local Washington fruit. For a couple weeks now, I’ve gone strawberry-crazy, making ice cream, jam, and eating them plain with a touch of our really nice balsamic from Italy, which is sadly almost gone.
I was about to make a strawberry tart this weekend, when I realized that cherry season is quickly slipping away! Next week is already the last week of sour cherries from Mair Farm-Taki at the U-District market. Why does it all come at the exact same time, and in spades? I spend twice as much time in the kitchen in the summertime, it seems. Not wanting to miss out, I grabbed a bunch of cherries this weekend, and we have quickly switched over to cherries in everything.
We had a breakfast of cherry baby dutch pancake, with Skagit River Ranch bacon. Dessert tonight was a sour cherry almond cobbler. Plans for the next week include salmon with grilled sweet onions, sweet cherries, and balsamic; David Tanis’ cherry-almond clafoutis (from A Platter of Figs), and Jerry Traunfeld’s goat cheese handkerchiefs with tart cherries and sage (from The Herbal Kitchen).
And then it’s on to apricots, peaches, blueberries, and blackberries.
Sour Cherry Almond Cobbler
Adapted from Ripe for Dessert, by David Lebovitz
David’s recipe uses sweet cherries, but I love the bracing tartness of sour cherries in my pies and cobblers.
For the filling:
5 cups sour cherries, stemmed and pitted (about 2 pounds)
1 cup sugar
3½ tablespoons cornstarch
For the topping:
7 ounces almond paste
1/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
To make the filling: Mix the cherries with 1 cup of sugar and the cornstarch and arrange them in an even layer in a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
To make the topping: Beat together the almond paste and the 1/3 cup of sugar, until the almond paste is finely broken up. Beat in the butter, then beat in the egg and the vanilla or almond extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter and almond paste mixture, stir in the milk, and finally the remaining dry ingredients.
Spoon the batter evenly over the cherries in the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.