RaeDi at Hummingbird Hollow

Thoughts on Food, Words from the Heart, 'The Little Winged Ones'….

Tag: Bing Cherries

Bing Cherries in Sweet Sauce and Pistachio Parfaits

A while back I canned some fresh Bing Cherries in Sweet Sauce (not overly sweet, I wanted the black cherries natural sweetness.)  I thought I would make use of it not only as a meat sauce (wonderful especially with pork and chicken, would be really good with duck) but too in desserts, salad dressings, on and swirled in ice cream and even yogurt and wonderful refreshing smoothies.   I am sure with time there would be a lot more uses than I can think of right now.

We were cleaning out my pantry a while back and discovered a box of Pistachio Pudding.  I do not know where it came from (I still have no idea.)  The expiration date was still some time in the future so I knew it was still good.  To be honest, I had no idea how the boxed Pistachio Pudding would taste.

I love a good parfait and we had not had a parfait for at least a dozen years.  I thought when I found the box of pudding it would be a good mix with my Bing Cherries in Sweet Sauce.  I made a mental note to one day in the near future use the pudding mix and add the cherry sauce and see what I could come up with.

One afternoon I made the boxed pudding per instructions.  I should have known at this stage it was not what I wanted to just take the time and make some pistachio pudding or custard from scratch.  I had some left over Pistachio Crumble (cherry pie topping recipe) to put between the layers and sprinkle some on top of the parfait.  I put a cup and then some of the sweet cherry sauce in a heavy saucepan and let it cook down some to thicken the sauce a little.   While letting it cool down some I made some delicious whip cream to top it all off.

Making a parfait is so easy; you just layer in the different ingredients you are using and in a few minutes you have a perfect treat.

I should have gone with my first instinct, to make the pistachio pudding or custard from scratch.  I have now faced my enter self that cannot bring me to throw away a thing and all things should be used… nothing wasted!  The parfait(s) were delicious with the exception of the pistachio pudding.  It was horrible, but edible (palatable) but seems lite on taste and faint in color.  Next time I need some pudding or custard I will do what I have always done in the past make it from scratch, you cannot beat the smooth, silky, wonderful flavors that you can take pleasure in… with the boxed pudding I lost all of the savor!

It was good enough there were no leftovers but we all knew it was missing flavor; some of the bouquet was missing!  The Bing Cherry Sauce was delicious as was the crumble and whip cream (a wonderful mix,) they in a way made up for the lacking in the boxed pudding….

I thought of this quote as I was eating my parfait.  It too is sad to think that so many generations will live this way:

You can say this for ready-mixes – the next generation isn’t going to have any trouble making pies exactly like mother used to make.  ~Earl Wilson 

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Fresh Fruit Salad with Lemon Thyme Dressing

 

I love a revitalizing fruit salad.  It is a wonderful light add to any good meal.  I used some cubed watermelon and cantaloupe, a few sliced strawberries, some pitted Bing cherries and added a few of the frozen white and red grapes from the freezer.

This is very easy and really quick to put together.  I make the dressing in a pint size jar with good lid that can shake to mix and then store in for several days in the refrigerator.

The yogurt  (homemade Greek Style) know-hows I got at my friend, Chicaandaluza.  What a wonderful person you should take the time to go over and look over her recipes and too do not forget to take in her “City Slicka to Spanish Chica” category.  It is worth the time to sit and read her stories, very entertaining.  She had a gift of humor and of words.

            Ingredients:

  • About a cup of Cubed Watermelon (I save the drained the watermelon juice that accumulates in the bottom of the bowl… I use it in the dressing)
  • About a cup of Cubed Cantaloupe
  • About a cup of sliced Strawberries
  • About a cup of Pitted Bing Cherries
  • A full cup of Frozen White and Red Grape Mix
  • 1 Cup Yogurt (I used homemade, you do not have too any plain yogurt will do)
  •  Couple of Tablespoons of Watermelon Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Apple Cider
  • About a teaspoon of Crushed Lemon Thyme or to taste (crushed it a bit releases more flavor)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

 

The amount of fruit you use should be for how many you will be serving.

Put all the fruit in one large bowl, save the watermelon juice for the dressing.  You can use any blend of fruit you want it does not have to be this mix.  This dressing goes well with all fruits.  Slightly blend the fruit, an even mix; I use my hands to do this.   Keep the fruit in the refrigerator at all times except when you are mixing, it needs to be kept and served cold.

Mix the dressing using the yogurt, watermelon juice, apple cider, crushed Lemon Thyme; I put the ingredients in the pint size canning jar and shake it good.  You can use a whisk if that is your choice.

Plate the fruit and drizzle some of the dressing over and then grind fresh Black Pepper over the top.  I had some toasted coconut already and sprinkled just a little over the top.  Wish I had had some pineapple to add to the mix!  You could put nuts and such too!

This is a very flavorful and full of color ending to a savory baked salmon dinner….

It tastes as good as it looks!  What colors!

Bing Cherry Tarts and Pistachio Crumb Topping

 

I have my first batch of Bing cherry preserves made and the second batch in the refrigerator marinating until morning with jalapenos and cider vinegar.  Now I am going to make some pies.  I decided instead of a couple of larger sized pies to make some four and six-inch tarts instead.  This way I can do each top differently and I wanted to try a new crumb topping recipe that uses Pistachios.

Making tarts is one of my favorite things to bake.  I think I have done almost every kind of tart from puddings, custards, nuts, veggies, cheese, eggs, fruit and the list can go on.

These will all be Bing cherry tarts, using the same recipe as for tart cherry filling.   I have decided to use a pastry dough that uses powdered sugar in it, think it will be a good pair with the cherries tarts.  I want to make a couple with a new crumb toppings recipe that uses my favorite nut the pistachio.

Bing Cherry Tarts ~ the Pastry Dough

          Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 Cup Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons good-quality cold Butter cut into small cubes
  • 1 Lemon, Zested
  • 2 large Eggs, beaten
  • Splash Milk
  • All Purpose Flour for dusting
  • Sugar for top of pre-baked tart

 

Directions:

Sift the flour, powder sugar into a bowl.  Pour into your food processor.  Add the cubes of butter a few at a time pulse a few times and then add more cubes of butter until you have all the butter added.  The mixture should be crumbly, pea size.   You can at this point add different flavors to the mix if you are so inclined; I am adding only the zest of lemon at this point.  I mix the eggs, milk and vanilla beans and then add to the processor.  Gently work the mixture together until you have a ball of dough, you do not want to overwork.

Flour your counter lightly and place dough on top.  Pat it into a flat round, flour it lightly, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator to rest for at least an hour.

When ready to use, I cut mind up into pieces about 2 inch balls for the tart pans.  Put flour on counter and flour the top of the small disk of dough; roll out until about 1/8 inch thick.  Place in tart pan and fit the dough, take the rolling-pin and roll over top of tart pan with dough over hang to cut off, save the extra dough that you have rolled away for making dough pieces to cover the top of the cherry filling.

Bing Cherry Filling

          Ingredients:

  • Five cups of Bing Cherries
  • 3 Tablespoons of Quick-Cooking Tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Vanilla Bean or 1 ½ Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • While Milk for brushing

Preheat oven to 400˚ with rack in middle and put a large baking sheet on rack.

Finely grate the tapioca in grinder.

Split vanilla bean in half and scrape seeds out into the mixing bowl.  If you are going to add vanilla extract instead, add it to the fruit.  Whisk the ground tapioca with the vanilla beans, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and sugar, then add cherries and toss well.  Let stand for about 20 minutes.

Stir the cherries and then fill the tart pans that are lined with the pastry to the top.   Now you will line the top with pastry, I used cutters-cookie press: leaves stars and such and placed them all over the top of the tart cherry filling.  I too made the Pistachio Crumb Topping to put on several of the tarts.

Pistachio Crumb Topping

I learned about this topping at David Lebovitz, he sent you to Melissa Murphy, from her cookbook The Sweet Melissa Baking Book for this wonderful topping.

          Ingredients:

  • ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 Cups Whole Oats, ground to a flour in a food processor (yielding about ½ cup oat flour)
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¾ Cup Shelled Unsalted Whole Pistachios, coarsely ground in a food processor or chopped medium fine by hand
  • 6 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, oat flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pistachios.

Stir in the melted butter and mix gently to combine.

Cover the top of the cherry pie filling.

Place the tarts on the hot cooking sheets and set it on the middle rack.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile in a bowl beat egg in a bowl, pull pies on sheet in oven out and brush egg on tart crusts, not the Pistachio Crumble.  Sprinkle a little sugar on the tops of those with the pastry.   Return tarts to oven and lower heat to 350˚; bake for another 30 minutes and keep a good watch on them, when the crusts are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling and thickened they are done.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool at least one hour before serving.

When they were still a little hot I have to say, I had a quarter slice with one little mini scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.  All I can say is WOW….

Bing Cherry Preserves’ from Washington State

 

It is Bing cherry time here in Washington State.  I found that Central Market had their Dark Bing Cherries in and I headed over immediately to get ten pounds of the delicious little fruits.   I was so excited, these are my favorite cherries.  I would be making not only regular Cherry Preserves but will use my Spiked Cherry Preserves recipe too.  I am going to make some pies… I cannot wait.  The Bing Cherries will make the best of all preserves and pies, with the natural color of jewels.  I could already taste them.

When I got to the market, I was so excited; theses Bing Cherries were the largest cherries I had seen in years.  They were a deep color, meaning very sweet and juicy.  They were perfect for my preserves’ and pies; the color would be beautiful when finished.

As soon as I got home, I got the jars readied.  Wash them good with hot detergent water and rinse good.  Put in large pot and cover with water once it comes to boil you boil for fifteen minutes, leave in hot water until needed.

We started pitting out the cherries for the first batch of preserves.  I am becoming old hat at making the preserves, hard to believe I has made my first marmalade in the spring, I have come a long ways.  Cannot wait for blackberry season… then we can go out and pick on our own, blackberries grow wild here and you have as many as you want right there for the picking.

I used five pounds for each batch of perseveres,  I brought probably closer to fourteen pounds of cherries, decided the four extra would be for pies and eating as fresh fruit.  They are so healthy for you… they are!

Bing Cherry Preserves

          Ingredients:

  • Five Pounds of Pitted Bing Cherries, cut several cups worth of cherries into halves
  • Two cups of Water
  • About four cups of sugar (these were very sweet on their own)
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, my recipe called for more, but I like a little less, you too can add a little cloves if you like
  • 1 box pectin (I did not need the whole box, about half)

 

Once you have the cherries washed good and pitted put into a heavy bottom pan add the sugar, lemon juice and water.   Combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until they start to boil, stir until all the sugar dissolved.  Once they are boiling hard I turned the heat down some and cooked for 30 minutes. Stirring often and using a spoon skim off the foam as it cooks.  I turn the heat back up to med-high then once the mixture starts to thicken some you want to stir constantly, this all happens pretty quickly.   This is the time to add the pectin if you are going to use, I only add a little bit at a time and watch it careful.  You can use the frozen plate method if you want at this stage.

Once you have the mixture the consistency you want ladle the hot jam into the hot jars, leaving around ½” headspace.  Wash off the rim of each jar, making sure they are clean, so they can seal.   Then adjust the two-piece caps (cap and ring.)  Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner, bring your water to a boil then add the jars making sure that they do not touch.   I leave at least an inch on all sides of jars and side of pot.

When the fifteen minutes is up I place each jar on a tea towel (folded in thirds) covered wood cutting board.  Within in minutes all jars should have popped meaning they were sealed.  Once they have cooled down completely I put them in my pantry for future use.  Okay we open one the next morning for our hot biscuits, butter and some Bing cherry preserves and they were to die for….

I used the same recipe that I used a while back making the Spiked Cherry Preserves’, I felt that I could not improve on the flavor.  We had about a ½ of the Spiked Cherry Preserves’’ left and I made some Angel Biscuits and it was just as good, if not better (Bing Cherries) than the preserve’s I made earlier in the spring…..

Jalapeños –Spiked Cherry Preserves

When you are doing the jalapeños leave the seeds they will give the preserves a little extra heat. The preserves are good as a spread on sandwiches, serve them as a sauce with roasted and grilled meats, or you can use them on appetizers with all sorts of crackers and cheeses and too with bread, toast, warm biscuits, and on simple bread and butter. There are so many uses with preserves’; I think I have used them for just about everything and have always enjoyed them to the fullest.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • 1 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Dash of Ground Cloves
  • Dash of Ground Nutmeg
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash for Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 4  Peppers,  Jalapeños 3 peppers sliced, 1 pepper diced small
  • 2 pounds Sweet Cherries, pitted, 1 cup diced small
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and small cubed
  • 1 box of Pectin

Once I stemmed and pitted all the cherries, I then stemmed and sliced into thin slices the 3 jalapeños Peppers, I put the cup of cherries and 1 stemmed (leave the seeds they are extra flavor-heat to the preserves) jalapeño in the processor and pulsed several times until they were chopped up, you do not want to puree them, nice small pieces. Peel, core and chop the apple into ½ inch or so pieces.

As I finished with the cherries I put them in a big stainless steel bowl and then added the sliced peppers, the chopped pepper and cherries and then the cubed apple. I added the sugar and dried seasonings to the cherry mix and stirred them well. I measured the liquids into another stainless bowl and then poured into the mix, I stirred everything good. I placed a platter large enough to cover the top of the stainless bowl and put it in refrigerator. Every once in a while when passing through the kitchen I would take the bowl out of the refrigerator and give it a good stir. I then waited until the next day to finish up on the cherry preserves.

When I got up the next morning the first thing I did was get the bowl of cherry mixture out of the refrig and gave it a stir (they already smelled so good) and left it on the counter. I knew they could wait while I finished some things I needed done first so there would be no interruptions.

You do not have to store in refrigerator overnight, you can go right to the steps of putting in the pot and start to boil. *

If you are going to use the cold plate to test the thickness of the preserves the ‘wrinkle test’ to see if they are ready to jar, put the plate in the freezer now. You can read about this method towards the bottom of this page.

Once I got back to my cherries I put the mixture in a large heavy bottom pot and turned the heat on. I brought the mixture to a full boil, cooked stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. I placed the candy thermometer in the mixture and continued to cook and frequently stirred until the temperature registered 220 degrees, it took about 30 to 40 minutes. While it was cooking I skimmed off the foam that floated to the surface. I added the box of pectin to the pot around the thirty minute mark. You will want to watch it close and keep stirring at this point. My preserves set within minutes of adding the box of pectin.

Some folks use pectin, some don’t. Some do not think it is good, but pectin is all natural, just like adding green apple to the mix to help thicken the jams and preserves. Some will use a jar of apple jelly instead of the pectin to do the same job, it is all in who is making the preserves.

If you want to make them without the pectin then proceed with these directions:

When the temperature reaches the 220 degrees on the thermometer you can perform a gel test. Place a small plate in the freezer before you start, when doing the test get the cold plate from the freezer and place a spoonful of the preserves on it. Return it to the freezer and wait one minute. Remove the plate and gently nudge the edge of the preserve juice with one finger. If the preserve is ready, it will wrinkle slightly when pushed; if it is not ready it will be too thin to wrinkle you will need to cook a few more minutes and repeat the gel test until you get the gel to wrinkle.

Once the preserves have jelled properly; remove the pot from the heat. I had my sterile jars waiting and had the canning funnel in the first jar. I ladled the preserves into the jar to within ½ inch from the top. I removed the funnel and put on the next jar and repeated until I had used up all the preserves. Once I had all the preserves in the jars I used a clean damp cloth and went around each rim to make sure the rim was clean and placed a lid on the jar and then screwed on the band tight and then turned just until it loose. All the jar were readied, I used the canning tongs and placed each jar into the boiling water making sure that they did not touch each other or the side of the pot… about one inch apart.

I raised the heat to high, covered the pot and brought the water to a boil. You may have to turn the heat down some or crack the lid when the water gets boiling hard. I processed the jars in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Using the canning tongs, I then transferred the jars to a wooden board (I used my thick cutting board) covered with a tea towel and cool completely.

Let jars stand 24 hours. Check cooled jars for slight indentation in the lid that will indicate a vacuum seal. Store the jars in a cool, dark place up to one year. Around here they will not last that long.

The color of the Bing Preserves’ is such a jewel tone compared with the early spring Rainier Cherry.  The end product in my opinion the Bing wins hands down….

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