Fresh cherries really signal summer! Plump, juicy cherries, icy cold, are my idea of the perfect snack. Just sitting around on a hot day popping them in one by one is the start of a wonderful summer.
How about a big bowl of cherries for dinner? Why not! When the season is ripe enjoy them from beverages to baked goods.
One of my favorite easy apps is Cherry Bings – so easy you don’t even need a recipe!
Pit big Bing cherries (and if you don’t have a pitter use one of those disposable to-go chopsticks – I know you have in your kitchen drawer – to just poke out the pit!) Enrobe in some goat cheese and then roll in some toasted almonds! My idea of the perfect summer appetizer with a great glass of Washington wine!
One of my favorite cocktails to serve up in the summertime when friends stop by is Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd – make this ultra-refreshing sip up to three days ahead of time for your next barbeque or picnic – it serves about ten!
And of course dessert ideas abound … you know shortcakes aren’t just for strawberries. Fresh, pitted cherries tossed with a little sugar and kirsch liqueur make an excellent shortcake filling. But if you’re in the baking mood try my recipe for Summer Cherry Triple-Ginger Upside Down Cake.
Here’s to a summer filled with cherry-licious times. – Kathy
Photo courtesy of Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table – Armstrong Photography
Cherry Mojitos for a Crowd
Makes about 10 servings
1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
3 cups Bacardi Limón rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
1/4 cup clear cherry liqueur, such as Maraska maraschino
3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water
Garnishes: fresh mint sprigs, fresh cherries on the stem
In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, combine the mint, rum, sugar, lime juice, liqueur, and pitted cherries. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For each serving, fill a large rocks glass or tumbler with ice and measure in 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of the rum mixture (I like to use a ladle to do this), being sure to get some of the cherries into each glass. Top with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of soda. Stir, then garnish with a mint sprig and a cherry.
Chef’s Note: You can make the cherry-rum mixture up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated—the flavors will just get better and better.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books
Summer Cherry Triple-Ginger Upside Down Cake
Makes 1 cake
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed, brown sugar
1 pound fresh cherries, pitted (about 2 cups)
For the batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 tsp baking powder1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp very finely minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup very finely minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
Position a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, and reserve.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and then immediately drizzle into the prepared pan. Use a rubber spatula to distribute sugar mixture. Place the pitted cherries evenly around on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.
To make the cake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt, and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat together the fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat well. Then add flour mixture and milk, alternately, in 2 batches, mixing at low speed after each addition until just combined. Do not over-mix.
Spoon batter evenly over cherries in the pan. Spread batter gently, being careful not to move the cherries around too much. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack 15 minutes. Run a small knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Place a large platter or serving plate over cake and invert cake onto platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.
Recipe © Kathy Casey Food Studios