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.