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Using sour cherries (split from San Francisco Bay Area board)

Melanie Wong Jun 4, 2013 09:29 AM

What are y'all making with your sour cherries score?

  1. possumspice Jun 20, 2013 08:54 PM

    Not a baker, so I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my score. Ended up making sour cherry compote (just boiled them in their juice with the juice of a lemon and about 5 tablespoons of palm sugar). Then served it at room temp with Bi-Rite shortcake and homemade whipped cream.

    1. Robert Lauriston Jun 12, 2013 02:54 PM

      Here's a traditional recipe for hideg meggyleves (Hungarian cold cherry soup) from my friend Mimi Heft. I deleted some modern references to almond extract (totally unncessary when you're using pits) and vegan substitutes. I believe "meggy" means Morello, but Americans make it with Montmorency cherries, too.

      Source: Mimi's Aunt Roszie (pronounced "RHO-zhee"); Roszie taught me to cook by eye and taste, so there are no true measurements.


      - Roszie never bothered to pit the cherries; just be sure to caution your guests as you serve up the soup. If you do pit your cherries, wrap the pits in a cloth and whack them with a hammer to crack them, then add the bundle to the water to enhance the cherry flavor.

      - Did your cherries come with leaves and stems? Boil those up separately in a saucepan, then strain the tea into the soup.


      sour cherries
      wine (red or white, it doesn't matter)
      sour cream or heavy cream

      Put cherries in water to cover; add some sugar and a glass of wine to taste, and boil for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the leaves-and-stems tea, if you made that. Whisk a ladleful of the hot liquid into a cup of sour cream, to temper the cream so it doesn't curdle; then whisk this cream mixture into the soup. The soup should be light and thin, but if you want a slightly thicker texture, beat in a raw egg, then return it to the stove to thicken it up just a little—don't let it boil or it will curdle. Chill the soup thoroughly. Serve as a first course on a warm summer day.

      1. q
        Querencia Jun 11, 2013 06:12 PM

        When I had a Montmorency tree I used to freeze fifty pounds of pitted cherries every year. The way we liked them best was just, bring them to a boil with a little sugar, simmer for a minute or two, then thicken this with cornstarch mixed with cold water. Have the cherries on pancakes, waffles, or French toast.

        1. wineguy7 Jun 11, 2013 05:40 PM

          Sour Cherry Caipirinhas. The recipe doesn't use that many cherries, but delicious nonetheless:

          1. s
            stak Jun 11, 2013 02:27 PM

            I always make David Lebovitz' sour cherry jam. And last year I made a wonderful almond cake with sour cherries baked into the top. Perhaps it was the famous plum torte from the NY Times but with cherries instead of plums.

            4 Replies
            1. re: stak
              teezeetoo Jun 11, 2013 04:27 PM

              sour cherry pie with an almond oatmeal crisp top - yum

              1. re: stak
                Hansel Jul 2, 2013 07:50 PM

                Was it the Marian Burros plum torte? That doesn't have almond in it. But I was just wondering how her recipe would work with sour cherries. Would you have to add more dugar? Any advice?

                1. re: Hansel
                  stak Jul 12, 2013 07:54 PM

                  Hmm, I guess it wasn't the Burros cake after all. Or maybe I am mis-remembering the almond part. Or...I think maybe what I did was substitute ground almonds for part of the flour. Shoot, wish I could remember, as it was really good! I don't think I added extra sugar for the cherries. The cake part is sweet enough that the tart cherries were a nice contrast.

                2. re: stak
                  Hansel Jul 2, 2013 07:51 PM

                  Sorry, meant sugar, not dugar. Getting used to new phone

                3. Caitlin McGrath Jun 8, 2013 12:29 AM

                  I like galleygirl's tart (actually a cake) made with sour cherries: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/281699

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                    mary shaposhnik Jul 12, 2013 01:30 PM

                    Same here, every year.

                    I also always do a cherry cobbler.

                    The rest of the cherries, I pit and freeze, usually with maybe a tablespoon of sugar. I'll make them into a cherry sauce for pork tenderloin. It would probably also work with duck, but that's not something I am good at cooking.

                    Then I always use the last of the frozen cherries in something to bake for Christmas morning.

                  2. t
                    Thomas Nash Jun 7, 2013 10:44 PM

                    Hungarian cold sour cherry soup ("Meggyleves"), obviously. My cousin made a delicious version and I snarfed up two big bowls of it. There's a recipe in George Lang, Cuisine of Hungary. http://bit.ly/18e9xtK

                    Cousin's version, from her mother, uses cream instead of sour cream and she pureed half of the cherries after they were cooked. A classic of Hungarian cooking.

                    1. p
                      Philip Jun 6, 2013 12:57 PM

                      I made a cherry pie from Marion Cunningham's Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Pitting cherries is a pain, but for the "king of pies," it's worth all the effort. I didn't take a photo before I cut the pie.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: Philip
                        Robert Lauriston Jun 6, 2013 01:12 PM

                        If you want to reduce the pain, get a plunger-action cherry pitter / stoner with a feed hopper and output bin.

                        1. re: Philip
                          foodeye Jun 6, 2013 02:11 PM

                          That is beautiful!

                          1. re: foodeye
                            Philip Jun 6, 2013 02:43 PM

                            foodeye: Thanks! I'm not ready for a spread in a cooking magazine, but it tastes great.

                            Robert: Thanks for the tip. I use a manual cherry (olive?) pitter.

                            1. re: Philip
                              wally Jun 6, 2013 02:50 PM

                              The ones Robert describes are worth it, even if you only use them once a year.

                              1. re: wally
                                absc Jun 6, 2013 06:11 PM

                                Seconding this. I tend to preserve my sour cherries in alcohol, with the pit and stem, but for the cherry chutney we make, a plunger-action cherry pitter is a necessity.

                                1. re: absc
                                  JudiAU Jun 6, 2013 07:48 PM

                                  Or watch Dr. Who, which is what I do. =)

                          2. re: Philip
                            JudiAU Jun 6, 2013 02:15 PM

                            Can you post the proportions of the filling? I made one last night too and while delicous, I think it can be slightly improved. I used the Chez Panisse recipe. I was out of kirsch and that was probably the big difference.

                            Shocking how different a fresh cherry pie tastes from a canned cherry pie. I also try and tell myself that there isn't such a big difference but there is. They really taste nothing alike.

                            1. re: JudiAU
                              Philip Jun 6, 2013 09:58 PM

                              The recipe I use calls for 4 c pitted sour cherries, 1 c sugar (though I tend to use slightly less since most fillings are sweeter than I like), 1.5 T flour (I up it to 2 T) and 1/8 t salt.

                              1. re: Philip
                                JudiAU Jun 7, 2013 02:41 PM

                                Hum, flour. I've never tried flour. CP is pretty similar but uses tapioca. I had sworn off cornstarch with cherries and I have to say the tapioca worked quite well. But the real issue I think is that I probably had Morellos instead of Montmorency like I've had in the past. Not quite as tart and thus too sweet. If I get Morellos in the future I'll reduce the sugar. I noticed they were less translucent and should have asked the variety.

                                Also, I think 4 cups of fruit even for a smallish standard pyrex is kind of shabby. I need at least 6 cups for a small pie.

                                1. re: JudiAU
                                  biondanonima Jun 11, 2013 02:19 PM

                                  I always use 6 cups of sour cherries for a standard pyrex pie plate, with usually around a cup of sugar and a touch of lemon juice (less sugar for Morellos, although I rarely bake with these - I love to eat them plain so I never have enough for pie!). Usually they throw off enough juice that I have a little bit of overflow. Tapioca is my thickener of choice - 4 tablespoons is just about right for 6 cups of fruit.

                                  1. re: biondanonima
                                    shallots Jul 2, 2013 08:34 PM

                                    My recipe is like yours, but with corn starch as a thickener and a tsp. of pure almond extract.

                                2. re: Philip
                                  emily Jun 11, 2013 01:57 PM

                                  I baked a mini pie yesterday with sour cherries I froze 3 years (!) ago. First time trying cherry pie and it was delicious! Used 1 cup cherries, a scant 1/4 cup sugar, 1 T. flour and about a teaspoon of kirsch.

                                  1. re: emily
                                    emily Jun 12, 2013 12:57 PM

                                    Baked 2 more pies, comparing some new Montmorency sour cherries I picked up yesterday and the frozen Morellos. The latter was the clear winner, with a much more prominent and compelling "cherry" flavor.

                                3. re: JudiAU
                                  emily Jun 8, 2013 05:35 AM

                                  I add kirsch to my boysenberry pies a la Chez Panisse Desserts - I think it noticeably improves the pie.

                              2. a
                                absc Jun 4, 2013 09:53 AM

                                I have three batches of "boozy" cherries going: rye, bourbon and Luxardo. They should make for excellent cocktails down the line.

                                I'm never certain about the etiquette of linking a blog here, but if anyone wants details: http://winebookgirl.blogspot.com/2013...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: absc
                                  biondanonima Jun 11, 2013 02:20 PM

                                  I am planning to preserve some boozy cherries myself this year - I can't wait for the season to arrive!

                                  1. re: absc
                                    sandylc Jun 11, 2013 07:20 PM

                                    I used to make brandied cherries!

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