Summer cherries are in the store for a price of an arm and a leg. Considering how important it is to eat cherries in summer I am willing to trade that arm and that leg for a pound or two of cherries. I could have waited till they were a reasonable $1.99 per pound but that is an opportunity for later.
A few years back on a trip to Gros Morne National Park, I discovered the cherry wonderland. On an exploratory walk with my cousin we discovered that the whole town of Woody Point was beaming with red cherries! Growing up in India, childhood memories are laden with eating this preciously exotic fruit that appeared for only a few weeks in the winter, hence our excitement.
As we gawked at the cherry trees, hedges, and shrubs on our walk, we silently squealed like little girls in our hearts. The urge to pilfer the little red beauties was intense, but thievery requires guts. So we walked away without even touching the berries – but it was a never-ending avenue of cherries.
We stood by a broken fence in a yard filled with cherry trees whose branches bowed down over the fence laden with fruit. “I want to pick some so bad. I can’t believe no one picks these. What is it? Are they like tired of eating cherries?”, my cousin said ruefully. Then she observed, “Perfect branch to take a shot of”. Being the camera owner, I thought I held the right to literally call the shots, so I said,”I think that branch out there will take a better picture. I wish we could just get inside the fence”. I looked around and said,” We aren’t stealing, just taking pictures”. “Let’s be quick then” came in my support.
Just as we ventured to trespass, a voice from amongst the trees said, “You girls want to come in?” I nearly fainted as we scurried back outside the fence. In the dark as to where that voice came from, all we knew was he had to be an older man. Then we caught sight of him standing up on a white ladder holding a pruner in his hand. He was probably in his late 70’s, and handsomely grey. “You can pick some if you want” he said kindly. We quivered like children and queued for the cherries from outside the fence, almost toppling over picking them as fast as we could – without stopping, like the opportunity came with a time limit, or before Mister changed his mind. We were cherry picking at last!
“You girls will need a bag at that rate”, said the man, getting off the ladder and walking towards us. “Come in if you want. I’ll get you a plastic from the house.” “Oh thank you so very much”, we said and gingerly walked inside the fenced gate, cherries spilling out of our jacket pockets. As we waited there, the front door of the cottage opened and what looked like the Queen herself walked out and handed us two plastic bags. Well, her warmth and friendliness could have given the Her Majesty a run for her money.
Soon we were invited inside the couple’s cottage. After a round of introductions and answering questions about where we came from and so on, a tour of the cottage followed, capped by an offer for afternoon tea, all in a span of less than half an hour. We weren’t surprised, but we were quite pleased to meet this lovely couple. I don’t remember what their names were – it’s a sin (that’s what any Newfoundlander would say, in pity) not to remember such sweet kindly people’s names.
“So what will you do with the cherries”, we were asked on our way out. We could barely hold down our excitement. We were actually going home with two bags of free sweet cherries. “Oh, they’ll all be eaten…we just love them so much!”
“They’re sour cherries, they need to be cooked, you know, right?”
CHERRY CHOCOLATE CREAM – A Jubilee of sweet cherry, chocolate and whipped Irish cream on a thin layer of chocolate cake.
CHOCOLATE CAKE (This will make more cake than needed for this recipe. I use the leftover batter to make muffins.)
- Softened unsalted butter: 1 ¼ cup
- Sugar: 1 ¼ cup
- Egg: 2
- Cocoa powder: ½ cup
- Flour: 1 ½ cup
- Baking Powder: 1 tsp
- Baking Soda: 1 tsp
- Milk: 1 cup hot
- Vanilla: 1 tsp
- Salt: ½ tsp
- Pre heat oven at 350 F.
- Sift together the flour, coco powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Blend well.
- Mix the dry ingredients alternating with the hot milk. Mix until smooth.
- Pour ¼ batter in a 9 inch springform pan and bake for 15-20 mins.
*Bake for 30-35 mins if using a single round springform pan to make 1 single cake. If making muffin pan reduce time to 20-25 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Whipped Cherry Cream
- Cream Cheese: ½ pack
- Whipping Cream: ½ container
- Sugar: ½ cup
- Irish Cream liqueur: ¼ cup
- Cherry: frozen sweet cherries 2 cups chopped
- Chocolate: ½ cup shaved
- Chocolate shaved: ½ cup for topping
- Fresh cherries: for dressing
- Gelatin: 1 small packet
- Water: ¼ cup
- Whip chilled whipping cream until it is half way thick. Add Irish cream and whip until it holds peaks. Set aside.
- Mix cream cheese and sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved. Fold in the whipped cream and gently mix. Add the cherries and chocolate shaving and mix thoroughly.
- Prepare gelatin by adding it ¼ cup hot water. Mix thoroughly and cool slightly.
- Add the gelatin through a sieve to the cream mixture. Mix well.
- Line the sides of the same spring form cake pan that was used for chocolate cake with parchment paper.
- Line the bottom of the cake pan with a 1 inch thick chocolate cake. Add the cherry cream mixture and smooth the top.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to let the gelatin set.
- Before serving remove parchment, decorate with shaved chocolate and fresh cherries.
- Best served chilled.