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Cooking with fresh cherries

EWSflash Aug 3, 2013 05:15 PM

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. greygarious RE: EWSflash Aug 3, 2013 05:22 PM

    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
      m
      magiesmom RE: greygarious Aug 3, 2013 05:23 PM

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

      1. re: greygarious
        EWSflash RE: greygarious Aug 3, 2013 08:15 PM

        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. kitchengardengal RE: EWSflash Aug 3, 2013 07:32 PM

        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
          EWSflash RE: kitchengardengal Aug 3, 2013 08:16 PM

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

          1. re: EWSflash
            kitchengardengal RE: EWSflash Aug 3, 2013 08:32 PM

            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
              EWSflash RE: kitchengardengal Aug 3, 2013 08:43 PM

              Thanks- it's what I was looking for.

              1. re: kitchengardengal
                greygarious RE: kitchengardengal Aug 4, 2013 10:10 AM

                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.

            2. re: kitchengardengal
              c
              Chowrin RE: kitchengardengal Aug 4, 2013 06:11 AM

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

              1. re: kitchengardengal
                MsMaryMc RE: kitchengardengal Aug 4, 2013 11:13 PM

                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
                  kitchengardengal RE: MsMaryMc Aug 5, 2013 03:23 AM

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

              2. Shrinkrap RE: EWSflash Aug 4, 2013 01:16 AM

                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. tim irvine RE: EWSflash Aug 4, 2013 05:54 AM

                  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
                    sunshine842 RE: tim irvine Aug 4, 2013 07:25 AM

                    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. Scoutmaster RE: EWSflash Aug 4, 2013 10:27 AM

                    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
                      sunshine842 RE: Scoutmaster Aug 4, 2013 01:44 PM

                      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

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