Thursday, January 19, 2006

Baby cherry cakes

Following on from the last post, morello cherries are still available! You just have to find a pick your own orchard. There are a few farms on the Mornington Peninsula, we went to Ellisfield Farm (109 McIlroys Rd Red Hill, ph 5989 2008). The sour cherries there are around during January, and there were masses of them on the trees when we went there last Sunday. They are $7 a kilo if you pick your own, or $10 if you buy them prepicked.

Information for the uninitiated: the farm supplies buckets, a full bucket is around 4 1/2 kg, and we noticed some european families (who knew what they were doing) equiped with small shears to facilitate the easy removal of cherries from the tree. The cherries pull off the stalk very easily, but then of course they don't last very long - you'll need to process them straight away. With a bit of stalk you can keep the cherry in the 'fridge for a week or so.

So we came away with 9 kgs. Whoops. So since Sunday we have made jam, frozen cherries, made preserves and cherry cake. I've adapted a favourite plum cake and used a small silicon muffin tin (as the cake mix is very sticky). The result is a little bit crunchy, a little bit chewy and a bit cakey. The small girl loved them - except for the morello cherry! Maybe next time with sweet cherries. This quantity makes 7.

50g butter
1/4 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (sift together with flour)
2 tbs of milk
7 or 8 cherries, stoned

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then mix in the flour and baking powder. Add enought milk to make a soft dough. Spoon mix into muffin tins (maybe no more than 3/4 full - they are prone to spreading alot). Make an indentation and insert stoned cherry.

Bake at 170 degrees C for about 30 minutes or until they are starting to brown. Turn out immediately from tray (so they don't get soggy). Beware they are very fragile until cooled down.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Morello Cherry Icecream

Just so I don't forget next year.... morello cherry icecream is a really good use of my precious morello cherry crop. Morello cherries are known as a sour cherry, and although these aren't too sour to eat raw, they do make one pucker up a little. They are gorgeous cooked, and almost impossible to find fresh in Melbourne.

We've a small tree in a pot, waiting to go in the garden, while we work out how much of a renovation we can afford on our dear old house. I dare not plant it yet for fear of it being damaged. I've had the tree for three years in a huge pot and every year it puts out a ridiculous amount of fruit given its size. We lose most of the cherries to birds (despite netting the tree). I had about three quarters of a cup of cherries left, and decided that icecream was the best way of celebrating them.

The following ingredients are approximate and there is no photo, the small amount I made got consumed so quickly. Imagine the the strawberry bit of neopolitan icecream, then adjust a shade or two darker. When I next make this ice cream I'll try substituting a little milk for the some of the cream as it was very rich. We ate it with some homemade chocolate sauce, a fine way to start the new year. This quantity was enough for two serves. Hopefully next year there will be enough cherries to double it.

3/4 cup morello cherries
150ml double cream
40g sugar

Stone the cherries. Cook with stone in a small amount of water until soft. Remove stone and chill.

Puree cherries, add cream and sugar and beat until mixed. Pour into icecream maker. This quantity was ready in about 7 minutes.