I’m a sucker (or should I say pucker?) for sour cherries. Fresh ones are nearly impossible to find, and the season is a brief blink in July. So when I found some at the farmers market – a small box, stuck in a corner, nearly hidden by towering mounds of boring Bings – I pounced.
These are Montmorency cherries, a variety that’s over 100 years old, and the most plentiful type of sour cherry in North America.
They’re a beautiful, bright crimson – so pretty, I almost don’t mind the tedious task of pitting each one. I remember pitting cherries when I was a kid, using one of my grandmother’s old-fashioned U-shaped hairpins to fish-out the seed. Now I’m thoroughly modern and use a paperclip.
I didn’t make a cherry custard pie, like I remember adoring when I was young (anybody got a recipe?). Instead, I went for a sugar-cookie crust cobbler, from The Best Recipe cookbook – my go-to cobbler recipe. You spoon the dough on in mounds, and as it bakes, the juice bubbles up through the cracks. The crisp, sweet, buttery crust is the perfect foil for sour cherries. The Bottomless Pit (not to be confused with a cherry pit) thoroughly approved.
La Tartine Gourmande is another sour cherry fan. She has some sexy cherry shots and an intriguing cherry soup recipe here. Dommage! I’ve got no cherries left to experiment.
So what to do in those dreary months when you can’t get fresh cherries? One of my favorite risky-things-that-might-break-in-your-suitcase is Confipote cherry jam, from France. You can find it in just about any supermarket (in French, “cherry” is “cerise”). It’s a low-sugar jam, so the zing of the cherries comes through brilliantly. (Yes, I know this photo is a jar of fig jam, but obviously, I already ATE the cherry jam!)
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