Monday, June 18, 2007

Cherry Season

Many thanks to Ryan for the invitation to help maintain Jesuit Recipes. I look forward to contributing some tried and true recipes that are favorites with my family. Because Ryan first mentioned the idea to me in December, 2006, and it is now late June, 2007, I won't waste even more time with small talk and background information. Briefly, my name is Loretta and my son Drew, also a Jesuit Scholastic, is a friend and classmate of Ryan's. Although he has given me his blessing to do this, I sense that the thought of his mother- out there among the bloggers- gives Drew pause. Understood, no sharing of cute childhood stories. So, without further delay...

It's cherry season here in Ohio so I'm posting two dessert recipes that are annual favorites, cherry tarts and cherry cobbler. The tarts are kind of ambitious, and take a little time to create. If you are looking for something simpler, but equally good, scroll down to the cobbler recipe. Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream - heavenly.


Individual Cherry Tarts

(This recipe makes approximately 36 small tarts. If you want fewer, the ingredients for both filling and crusts can be cut in half)


Filling ingredients:
  • 6 cups of fresh pitted pie cherries (substitute 3 cans-about 15/16 ounces each-of unsweetened pie cherries if fresh are not available)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup of corn starch

  • dash of salt

  • 2 Tablespoons of butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

  • 5 drops of red food coloring (optional)
Shortbread Crust ingredients:
  • 3 sticks (1 and 1/2 cups) of butter

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

  • 3 cups of flour

Mixing Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare the tart crusts first before the filling.


Cream the butter and powdered sugar (add slowly, or you'll find yourself in a cloud of dust) with electric mixer until well-blended. Gradually add the three cups of flour until completely combined and the dough is sticking to itself and forming a ball in the bowl. With your hands, shape the dough into a ball and cut in half. Wrap half the dough in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to shape it. Roll out the other half between two sheets of saran wrap to 1/4 to 1/8 thickness. Remove the top sheet of saran wrap and cut the dough with a 3" cookie cutter into approximately 18 circles. Repeat with the refrigerated dough. Lightly grease small (not mini) muffin/cupcake pans. Place one circle of pie crust into each prepared well of the pan and gently shape it to conform to the pan. Once this has been completed, place the muffin pans in the refrigerator until the filling is ready.



Filling preparation:


In a large saucepan combine granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the cherries and whatever juice has accumulated from them. Stir and let rest for about 5 minutes. Stir again to make sure the dry ingredients have been completely mixed into the cherries, before turning on the heat under your pan. Heat cherry mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, and continue stirring, as it boils for a full minute. At this point, the liquid will have thickened and become translucent. Remove from heat and add almond extract, 2 Tablespoons of butter, and red food coloring (if desired).

Remove muffin tins with prepared crusts from the refrigerator and place about 2 Tablespoons of filling in each crust. This will vary, depending on the size pan you are using, just do not overfill, as the filling does rise a bit during baking. When all the crusts are filled, bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until filling and crust look "set". Because the crust is a shortbread crust, not your typical pie crust, it is not supposed to brown. It will be completely baked and still look very white. Keep an eye on them, you don't want them to turn brown. When they look done, remove from oven, but leave in the pan on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, place each tart on the cooling rack to cool completely, before serving. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
These tarts can be wrapped and frozen for later use.


Cherry Cobbler

Preheat oven to 400.

Biscuits:
  • 2 and 1/3 cups of Bisquick
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1Tablespoon of sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons of melted butter

Mix all biscuit ingredients with a spoon until combined. Reserve until cherry mixture is prepared.

Cherries:

  • 4 cups of fresh pitted pie cherries

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract

  • 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Mix sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a 2 quart saucepan. Stir in cherries and extract. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Continue to stir and allow to gently boil (reduce heat slightly, if necessary) for one minute. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole. Immediately drop 6 large spoonfuls of biscuit mixture onto hot cherries, forming six serving size portions.

Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool about half an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Let me know if anything is unclear about any of the recipes I post. Also, please always feel free to tweak the ingredients of my posts to suit your individual tastes. Thanks for reading!

Loretta

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