Thursday, June 19, 2008
TILASG - Cherries
Lucky us, the week we got to town cherries were on. We drove out to Leeds to pick some Lambert cherries. They are so fun and easy to pick, in 30 minutes we walked away with 34 lbs. Whoa. Didn't mean to pick that many!
I was excited to make pies and jam and freeze some. Sara and Zella were not excited about pitting 34 lbs. of cherries.
We used my mom's paper clip trick (bend a paper clip open, stick one of the U's into the cherry and pop out the seed) which helped, but we soon realized that no matter what you do, pitting cherries is a laborious process.
We made two kinds of pies. The one on the left is from Joy of Cooking (find the recipe at Cafe Johnsonia), the one on the right is a recipe my mom gave me. (I left it at Sara's house, I'll post it when I get it). Both were really good. For the lattice top pie I used tapioca and it thickened up much more than the the one with cornstarch in it.
My favorite way to eat fresh cherries is to put them in the freezer for a few hours. They're sweet and cold and firm. I could eat a whole bowl this way. We also made 3 batches of jam. I think cherry jam is my favorite. I like making the low sugar freezer jam. Sara showed me how to do a cooked jam that is so easy. The recipe is in the MCP box, but basically you heat the lids, then screw them onto the full jars, turn them over and they seal. No need to cook the jars of jam to seal them.
Cherry jam is really yummy in cookies too:
Poppy Seed Thumbprints (from Great Cookies by Carole Walter)
makes about 40 1 3/4 inch cookies
2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. poppy seeds
1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 t. vanilla
cherry, apricot or raspberry preserves
Heat oven to 350.
Strain together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the poppy seeds and set aside.
Beat butter in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment just until smooth. Pour in the sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, mixing only until blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just to combine after each addition. Don't overmix or dough will become oily.
Roll the dough into balls about the size of a large walnut and place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Using a wooden spoon with a rounded handle no wider than 1/2 inch, make a deep indentation with the tip of the handle in the center of each cookie. If the dough sticks, dip the tip in flour before pressing.
Place the cookies in the oven. After 10 min., remove the cookies from the oven and re-press each indentation. Then fill the centers with preserves. To do this neatly, point the tip of the spoon down into the indentation and slide the preserves off with your fingertip. Do not overfill these or the preserves will run over.
Return cookies to the oven, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for 4-5 minutes longer or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Using a thin metal spatula, loosen the cookies from the pans as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Cool on wire racks.
Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 2 weeks. These cookies may be frozen.