Tuesday, August 9, 2011

all on a summer's day

The cherries we brought home a few weeks back went so fast, but we put them all to good use. Along with the scones, we made a batch of tasty cherry jam, and I must say that all the canning we've been doing has paid off. Preserving food has become as relaxed and easy a kitchen job as chopping vegetables.

Cherry Jam

4 cups pitted, chopped and mashed sweet cherries
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cups honey
a dash of ground cinnamon and cloves to taste
3 tsp. Pomona's Universal Pectin powder
4 tsp. calcium water (powder to make this included with Pomona's pectin)

Measure fruit and juice into pan. Add calcium water and stir well. Mix honey and pectin powder in a separate bowl. Bring the fruit to a boil. Add honey mix and stir while cooking for 1-2 minutes to dissolve pectin. Add cinnamon and clove. Return to boil and remove from heat. Fill clean jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Place lids on jars and boil in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Every time the kids have this jam, they are reminded of something elusive. Something sweet and good and warming. Was it something from Christmas? Something a loving grandparent served? "Maybe one more piece of toast smothered in jam will help me remember, mama..."

And because I can't stop at just one or two good ways to cook up these delicious fruits, I put together this cherry tart recipe. The tart crust on the first version wasn't quite what I had hoped for, and so I made them again with better results (and plan to make them again and again...).

Cherry Tarts

3 cups pitted, chopped sweet cherries
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup oats
3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup cream
1 egg yolk

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal. Add the cream and egg yolk. Combine and knead the dough until smooth. Break into 8 pieces, flattening each into a 5" circle. Spoon in 3-4 Tbsp. of filling. Fold edges of dough over the top to encircle the fruit. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, cover and freeze for at least one hour (well wrapped, the tarts will keep in the freezer up to 2 weeks). Place uncovered in a 375 degree oven (straight from the freezer) and bake for 30-35 minutes.

We enjoyed them topped with some creme fraiche, sweetened with a hint of sugar and vanilla extract, while reciting the old nursery rhyme about that queen of hearts and the tarts she baked...

... all on a summer's day.


Meg said...

Yum! Both recipes sound great! I'm bummed I missed the cherry sale at Whole Foods a few weeks ago, I'll have to wait for another good sale on them. We did your strawberry freezer jam a bit ago, and added some peaches ~ and we all just love it so much!! And I had such a fun time making it. :) AND We actually had jam and toast for dinner tonight! Just because!! :) Keep these awesome recipes coming!

Emily on the Prairie said...

This makes me miss the midwest, specifically my home state of michigan, in a big way. I enjoy all the peaches here in the Carolinas ... I make jam and pies with them ... but when I look at those cherry pictures, well, YUM! Grass is always greener. :)

Amanda Greco Holmes said...

Hi Meg! So glad you liked the strawberry jam and had fun making it(and yes, bread and jam is a perfectly acceptable dinner!). Thanks for the kinds words!

Amanda Greco Holmes said...

Emily, you can drool over the cherries while I envy your long growing seasons... ; )