Crisp x 2: Apricot and Sour Cherry

We had some extra sour cherries sitting around and they don’t last long, so Chris and I made crisp. When in doubt, make crisp!

We made too much crisp topping so I sliced up some ripe apricots and made an apricot one too.

apricot

Apricot… we used too much cinnamon, I cut it in the recipe listed below.

cherry

Cherry. Note the extra juice in the bottom. Had I used a little corn starch that would have helped.

I used my large handled soup bowls (from Williams Sonoma – they are 5″ wide and 17 oz capacity). Each makes a crisp that serves 2, so this recipe really makes enough to serve 4 people.

Crisp topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Fruit filling:

  • 2 cups sour cherries, washed and pitted (2 cups before pitting)
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch (optional, for cherries)
  • Almond extract (for cherries)
  • Vanilla extract (for apricots)
  • 3 apricots, washed and sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix topping ingredients (excluding cinnamon) in bowl by hand making large chunks like crumb cake topping. Set aside.
  3. Optional: toss cherries with corn starch if you don’t want extra  juice in the bottom of the crisp bowl. I don’t mind it.
  4. Put cherries in one oven safe bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of almond extract (1/8 tsp).
  5. Put apricots in another oven safe bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of vanilla extract (1/8 tsp).
  6. Sprinkle half of topping over each bowl, try to keep larger chunks of topping like crumb cake.
  7. Sprinkle top of each with a little cinnamon.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes. The cherry took 35 minutes, the apricot 40 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Apricot Turnovers

Another example of my not having enough confidence to trust my instincts…

I did a quick search for apricot hand pies since I had a bumper crop from Fresh Direct (they couldn’t fulfill my request so they sent me a million apricots, which was nice) and they were ripening faster than we could eat them.

The recipe I found definitely needs tweaks… it called for too much lemon and additional zest, and would have used half of the apricots I had prepped for the amount of puff pastry that I used.

Here is the recipe as I will try it next time, but this is generally how I made it… next time I’ll add a little more sugar (which is reflected in the recipe here) and coarse sugar for the top (which I didn’t have -the granulated sugar just didn’t work as well), and I will omit the lemon zest and only add a tiny bit of lemon juice (also reflected below).

  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm, both sheets), thawed on counter for 40 minutes
  • 3-4 large ripe apricots, chopped small
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • turbinado sugar for top
  • 1 egg, beaten, for wash

Thaw puff pastry as directed (about 40 minutes on counter). While you’re waiting, chop the apricots, and mix with the granulated sugar, starch, salt, and lemon juice and let it sit a bit while the dough defrosts and the oven preheats (to 375 F).

Lightly roll out pastry dough a little bit then cut each sheet into 4 large squares (not perfect squares, but it’s close), leaving a total of 8 squares. Brush 2 edges of each with egg  and put 1/8 of fruit mixture (large spoonful) into center. Fold into triangle and seal edges with tines of fork. Poke a couple of small holes in top of each turnover with very sharp knife or clip with scissor, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado (large crystal) sugar.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Let cool to room temp or else you will burn your mouth on the molten fruit inside!

Makes 8 turnovers.

I only took the photo after I had given the guys the best looking ones. Gotta love having a basement full of nerds for taste testing!  🙂

turnovergood

Yummy… notice that I cooked them on parchment paper (hooray easy cleanup!) and that a little of the apricot filling squirted out of it in the back!

Sour Cherry Jam

I hate when I follow a recipe against my better instincts.

The recipe in question was good except for one major point – it called for pectin when you rarely need pectin for good jam. Because I have never made sour cherry jam before I followed instructions, and the jam is waaaaayyyy too thick. Ridiculous. Otherwise it tasted good, but the cherries lose their sourness and become sweeter, which I guess is the point, but I like eating them raw!

sourcherries-bathtime

Cherries taking a bath before pitting

Chica lent me her cherry chomper… the best one-trick gadget ever, and it’s cute!

chomper

Isn’t this the best? He’s so happy I almost forgot I was pitting hundreds of cherries! 😉

Anyway, here’s the recipe, which will be good next time, without pectin!

Ingredients

2 quarts sour cherries (about 6 cups cherries)

3 cups granulated sugar

Wash and pit the cherries, smash with a potato masher, mix with sugar in dutch oven and bring to a boil for at least 20 minutes, skimming pink foam occasionally. Keep cooking it another 5-10 minutes or until it thickens. Some people use the cold dish test (put a small dish in the freezer and pour a little jam on it to see if it gels, then it’s ready), but I use the spoon test. Run your finger down the back of the spoon, if the line holds in the jam it’s ready.

Pour into jars and process in usual hot water canning method for long term storage or just put them on the counter and wait for the vacuum-seal ping sounds from the lids and then keep refrigerated and use within a few months. The jam will be much darker than the cherries when done.

cherriescooking

Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble…

scjars

Made 3 half-pints and 3 quarter-pints

Sour Cherry Crumb Cake

Mom brought over a quart of sour cherries from Battleview Orchards today, and with it a recipe for this crumb cake. It was great that she brought a recipe because my first instinct for using fruit is always jam and I’m sure everyone’s sick of it.

sour-cherries

I like the taste of sour cherries as they are (yum!), and the bright red color is great. They are smaller than sweet cherries that you see in the stores. There were a few leftover for me nibble on after I pitted a pound of them for the recipe. I don’t have a mechanical pitter, but opposable thumbs are the best cherry-pitting  invention ever!  🙂

The cake looks great, but we’ll see how it does in the taste test tomorrow.

sourcherrycake

The recipe is from Martha Stewart Living, July 2009.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE TOPPING
    • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for dish
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dish
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • FOR THE CAKE
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk
    • 2 1/2 cups (1 pound) fresh sour cherries, pitted, or frozen dark sweet cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth. Dot top with cherries, and sprinkle with crumb topping.
  4. Bake until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool before cutting.