Cherries have a short season so you make the best of them while they are on sale.
Clafoutis, the classic French dessert, is traditionally made with fresh cherries. You can stone the fruit or leave them untouched and allow your guests to suck the stone from the fruit. Here’s our recipe for Clafoutis.
Cherry and Mascarpone Tart: Bake a sheet of sweet shortcrust pastry and leave to cool (buy the pastry or make it yourself). Mix a tub of mascarpone with enough icing sugar to sweeten and spread over the cool pastry sheet. Spoon over stoned cherry halves that you have macerated in icing sugar, orange liqueur and a little lemon juice. Top with a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Serve immediately.
Cherry Custard Tartlets: Fill ready-made cooked pastry tartlets with bought lemon, orange or lime curd and top with stoned halved cherries. Brush the fruit with warm sieved apricot jam to give the tartlets a professional glossy patisserie feel.
Rosewater Cherries: Poach whole stoned cherries in a sugar syrup (to make a sugar syrup, just heat equal quantities of sugar and cold water together until the sugar dissolves, turn the heat up and boil until syrupy, then add the fresh cherries and cook gently). Turn the heat off when the cherries are soft but holding their shape and the syrup is glossy and thick. Add a spoon or two of rosewater, stir and serve over vanilla ice cream. You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge. If you have any left over, serve over yogurt for breakfast too.
Cherries and Cheese: Serve fresh whole cherries with soft creamy organic goat’s cheese and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Cherries also work well with any artisan blue cheese (try it with Irish blue cheese such as Bellingham Blue or Cashel Blue).
How to store fresh cherries: Buy firm bright shiny cherries without blemishes and they will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Rinse before using. Eat any that are bruised or soft on the day of purchase or they will spoil the lot.
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