Tag Archives: cherries

Summer cake with yoghurt and cherries

cherry cake

Another hot day, 31C inside (cooler than outside) and I am drinking iced tea and recovering after a sweaty walk to getting groceries. Even the locals were complaining today: “Madonna! Che caldo! E insupportabile!”. Now after lunch,  those who are not at the beach are secluded indoors, blinds are dropped and fans are on, it’s OK if you do not do much.

On the way, dragging my carrello (personal shopping trolley) along the bumpy sidewalk, I met a neighbour, loading her car on the street, with bags and dog, who explained that they were departing. “Buona vacanza! Mare o monti?“, I asked: sea or mountains? Those are the options from Rome. Oh, the mountains, she said, but actually it was only her dog who was going on holidays. He was going to her sister in the mountains, to cool off for a couple weeks. When the dogs get moved, it is definitely warmer then normal.

We even had mystery packet ramen noodles for dinner the other night. Cook three minutes? Perfect! Still, we had watermelon and peaches and cherries, and a friend arriving, so this impromptu cake was made – then the kitchen was barricaded off to block the heat.

Quick summer cake with yoghurt and cherries (and a peach)

3 eggs
120 grammes sugar
120 grammes yoghurt (I used banana)
80 grammes melted butter
100 ml semi-skimmed milk
250 grammes all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of vanilla salt

12 cherries, pitted
One small peach, chopped

Optional: icing sugar to serve

cherries

Whisk eggs and sugar, add the rest and whisk  (not too much after flour is added). Layer baking parchment on base of 24 cm springform tin. Add half the batter, then fruit dropped over, then spoon on rest of batter. Bake in middle of the oven at 200C for 40 min or so. Cool and serve; sprinkle over a little icing sugar if you wish.
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I did not use much butter, which means the cake might be bit pale, but the structure was fine and the fruit comes through well (depending where you slice the cake…..). Wishing you all cooler days soon!

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Cherry clafoutis with chestnut flour

clafoutis

Summer has arrived, and I had leftover cherries after making spicy cherry jam for cheese. Clearly time for clafoutis again! I also had some chestnut flour, and thought it might work well with the cherries. There was a gorgeous cherry clafoutis with chestnut flour on Chocolate & Zucchini, but I confess, I could not be bothered to whip eggwhites…. And I had no yoghurt in the fridge…. So I pulled out my Apricot clafoutis recipe from last year, and chanced it.

cherries and chestnut flour

Cherry clafoutis with chestnut flour

300-400 grammes cherries, washed and pitted
40g sugar
2 eggs
50g of chestnut flour (or just use plain flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
150ml of milk
a splash of Amaretto, optional
25g of melted butter (5-10g for dish, 15 for batter)

cherriesAre those cherries not gorgeous? Preheat the oven to 180C and butter your dish. Layer the apricots in with the cut side up, and pour over a splash of Amaretto, if you like that. Just enough for a little on each apricot half. Whisk together all the other ingredients to a smooth batter, and pour it over the apricots. Bake until the clafoutis is golden and puffed up. Sprinkle with icing sugar, and eat warm or cold.

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Notes: I used less sugar than last time with apricots, and a little more butter. It was still sweet from the cherries and very rich, that must be the chestnut flour. It is quite low fat as a flour, but does not taste that way. I might mix a little plain flour in next time, or whisk the eggwhites for more air. There was just enough for a little leftovers the next day, good flavour. Fun to try different flours!

And for my ongoing French exam preparations…… “Clafoutis est un plat régional de France, une dessert populaire du Limousin. Sans les cerises, on ne peut pas dire “clafoutis”  mais “flognarde” , comme avec des pommes ou des pruneaux.” 

 

Cherry-apple jam for cheese, with chilli and black pepper

cherries Summer has suddenly arrived in Rome, after a cool wet spring. Where did May go? I’ve finally excavated my open-toed sandals, and have been eyeing the new summer produce every afternoon while walking home. Little melons, that already smell sweet. Piles of fresh apricots, the first nectarines, tangles of cherries, and the oh-so tempting strawberries – no, most of those are already on their way out. So I bought cherries last night. Last year I made cherry-apple jam with Campari, and it was delicious. However, this time I had in mind a small batch of spicy cherry jam to go with pecorino cheese from Pienza: a jam not too sweet, with a bite, and not too runny.

I’m studying for a French exam, and suspect this jam-making may be part of my procrastination strategy, along with a sudden need to iron, fold linen, scrub sinks….. anything to avoid facing French verbs. At least I am translating in my head while cooking: “J’ai fait la confiture de cerises avec des pommes, du piment et de poivre noir, à manger avec du fromage de la brebis.” 

Cherry-apple jam for cheese, with chilli and black pepper

600g pitted cherries
400g apples (3 medium apples, cored but not peeled)
400g sugar
45g pectin powder
1 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper

Start by sterilizing the jars you’ll use. I just boil clean jars and lids for five minutes or so in a saucepan, and leave them there until needed. Not proper canning, but it works for me. two cherries Rinse and pit the cherries. Have a wide pot ready for the fruit. For the apples (I used three red): core and quarter them but leave peel on. Grate the apple wedges; if there are stubborn strips of peel, just chop those and toss them in the pot. Heat gently for five minutes, and you will see the cherries softening and giving off liquid. Add chill flakes and black pepper: half a teaspoon at a time, please taste your way to adjust the heat, less chilli might suit your tastes. This is medium spicy, but not as hot as my Chilli pepper apple jam. Optional step: with a hand blender, liquidize half of the cherries, it will make the jam more homogenous and red.

Add the pectin and boil two more minutes. Add the sugar and boil five minutes. Remove from the heat, and pour into warm, sterilised jars. Seal. I let mine cool upside down, as that is what my mother does – must ask her why! Label, and store in a cool place. (Or store in your hot Roman kitchen, hoping nothing explodes in the summer heat…. so far, so good.) cherry jam cooling Notes: The pectin/sugar ratio will differ, based on the type you have. See what your pectin packet recommends, the ratios are key here. This is a lot less sugar than was recommended, but these cherries are quite sweet. You might use lemon juice as well, but I used pectin and apples to firm it up a bit.  testing cherry jam
See: not even cool yet, and it is holding its shape well! No danger of this lazily dripping off a piece of cheese. The chilli and pepper flavour does intensify, so use you may want to use less, unless you want cheese jam with quite a kick.
bread with cheddar and cheery jamI tried the jam this morning with freshly baked bread and smoked cheddar (yes, from London) and really enjoyed it. With half a bowl of cherries left, I think this means clafoutis next……

But first, a little more French grammar avoidance: I will watch/listen to “Haute Cuisine”  (Les Saveurs du palais) while ironing. Lovely film, based on the true story of the French president’s first female chef. We need to have vocabulary ready to speak about hobbies at the exam, so what better film to help? Any other suggestions for French culinary films to watch?