Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekend Herb Blogging: All about Cherries

The cherries have arrived here in Bulgaria, and probably to wherever you are as well. I've seen them at the store, at the fruit stands, and overflowing from crates next to trucks on the side of the road. So on Wednesday when I visited my favorite fruit stand in Mladost, I decided to buy a giant bag of them and see what I could do with cherries for the latest edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this time by Cook Almost Anything.

So here are the results - cinnamon cherry jam, cherry jam bars, and lemon cherry muffins with lemon glaze. One bag of cherries can lead to many great things...

Cinnamon Cherry Jam
adapted from the Wandering Chopsticks Blog

1 1/2 cups cherries, washed and pitted
1 TBSP + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the cherries and let sit for as long as you have, anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours.
2. Transfer to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat until they begin to boil, stirring frequently.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. You can simmer them as long as you like, either to have a chunky ice-cream toppingesque jam, or longer so the fruit breaks down.
4. Pour the hot jam into a sterilized jar and seal for long term storage, or into a tupperware or regular jar if you plan to eat it in the next week or two.

Cherry Jam Bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
1 cup cherry preserves (I used the jam from the recipe above)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and butter a 9 X 9 glass dish.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Either cut the butter in with two butter knives, or massage in with your fingers, until the dough comes together as a crumb-like mixture.
4. Stir in the egg with a fork.
5. Press 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the dish. You may have to flour your fingers to keep them from sticking to the mixture. Pour the jam on top, not quite going to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining mixture over the jam.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown. Cool before cutting into squares.

Lemon Cherry Muffins / Bread with Lemon Glaze
adapted from Sweet Mary

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
5 TBSP butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup - 1 TBSP milk
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
3-4 TBSP Powdered Sugar
1-2 cups cherries, washed, pitted, and cut in half (if thawed from frozen, drain first)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a bread pan and a muffin pan (or use liners).
2. Combine the milk and 1 TBSP lemon juice in a small bowl. Let sit.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.
4. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until combined. Stir in eggs, then vanilla, then lemon zest.
5. Stir flour mixture and milk/lemon juice mixture into the large bowl, alternating between the two several times.
6. Fold in the cherries.
7. Divide the batter between the muffin pan and the bread pan.
8. Bake muffins for about 25 minutes, bread for about 35 minutes, until golden on top. Meanwhile, stir together remaining lemon juice and enough powdered sugar to make a glaze.
9. When your remove the muffins and bread, drizzle lemon glaze on top so it melts and spreads.
10. Cool for 15 minutes and then run a knife around the edges of both muffins and bread and remove.

1 comment:

  1. I can't decide what I want to make first - the cherry jam or the muffins! Both look amazing.