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Cooking with fresh cherries

I want to make a cherry crisp. When I've made peach crisps there was too much juice. If I coated the cherries with a mix of cornstarch and sugar, would it thicken while it was cooking? And if so, how much should I use? I'm not much of a baker, but i sure have a lot of cherries right now. Any other favorite recipes would be welcome, too.

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  1. If you are using sour cherries, by all means use a thickener. This link will give you amounts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/611278
    But if you are thinking of using sweet cherries like Bing - DON'T. The flavor gets dulled by cooking. If you are determined to do it anyway, do a 2:1 blend of cherries to nectarine or plum, which will make the flavor a little perkier.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      I agree completely. Eat the bings, cook the sours.

      1. re: greygarious

        Oh- good idea. They're sweet cherries, we can't be too picky here, we get what we get. We have peaches too Will use a couple, plus some Korean plum/persimmon vinegar essence.

      2. I know that everyone says not to make pies with sweet cherries, but I have been doing so for years. They are delicious! I use tapioca to thicken the juices, and that works fine.
        I really want to try sour cherries, but I never see them anywhere here in West Georgia.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kitchengardengal

          How do you use the tapioca? I have limited experience with it and would like to use it. Instructions, please?

          1. re: EWSflash

            I use the recipe in my Joy of Cooking for Fresh Cherry Pie. It calls for 5 cups pitted cherries, sour or Bing; 3/4 cup sugar (for Bing), 3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca (Minute Tapioca), 2 Tbs water, 1 Tbs lemon juice and 1/4 tsp almond extract.

            Mix all together and let it sit for 15 min before baking in a pie or topping with a crisp mixture. Dot the fruit with 2 to 3 Tbs unsalted butter cut into bits before covering with a top crust. It thickens as it cools, so don't try eating it hot if you want the liquid to gel.

            You can use this mixture for your peach pies or crisps, as well. I made a peach/plum/blackberry pie a few weeks ago, and the tapioca firmed it up very nicely.

              1. re: kitchengardengal

                If you don't want globules of tapioca gel in your fruit filling, either use tapioca flour, or grind the tapioca pearls in a spice grinder or food processor. You use less when it's ground than pearl. The link I provided in the first post provides amounts of thickeners according to type of fruit used.

            1. re: kitchengardengal

              I've seen 'em in cans. Also trader joe's has 'em dried...

              1. re: kitchengardengal

                We grow a lot of cherries in Washington, but sour cherries are hard to find, even here. For years I had to hunt them down at the farmers markets, until I found a farm that lets you pre-order them in the spring and pick up your order when it's ripe. I just got done making a batch of sour cherry and Amaretto preserves and DAMN they're good!!

                1. re: MsMaryMc

                  That sounds delicious! I make my sweet cherry jam with almond extract, as well as canning cherries in an almond light syrup.

              2. Once , a parent on my sons soccer team was giving away crates of bing cherries, and I made maraschino cherries from this article

                www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php...

                I ended up with some some chocolate syrup, to pour over ice cream or in soda, but I cant find that

                1. When cherries are in seasoning make clafoutis. It is super easy and leaves the cherries more intact than a crisp or cobbler or pie.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tim irvine

                    indeed, it is traditional to not even pit the cherries when making Clafoutis. Thankfully, this is pretty rare to find nowadays.

                    Clafoutis is a hands-down favourite at our house - easy, quick, inexpensive (if the cherries are at a good price) and equally good warm or cold. You can even eat it with your fingers on the way out the door -- try that with pie or crumble!

                  2. Every year I get Door County cherries which are already pitted, but they're whole and make cherry-almond jam. It is fabulous! I just follow a basic cherry jam recipe and right before jarring, I add a teaspoon or two almond extract and a smidge (just for looks) of sliced almonds.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Scoutmaster

                      Door County (and, for that matter, Traverse City cherries) never seem to stick around long enough to actually cook with.

                      They evaporate, I think.

                      :P