September 16, 2011

On the menu: Sour cherries

In August, a few rare foods become available at Vancouver's markets, for only couple of weeks. There is nothing fancy about them, but they have a very special meaning to me. One is Hungarian yellow and red peppers and the other one sour cherries.
Sour cherries always bring back memories of my grandfather's backyard and house in September, always loaded with preserves and prepared sweet liqueurs.
I love sweet alcohol drinks and one of my favorite is definitely sour cherry brandy. When it's homemade, of course.
I didn't make it last year, since I was out of town when this fruit was available, but this year I packed my fridge, freezer and windows with fresh and prepared sour cherries and preserves.

France part 2, The Indian Festival and wine testing posts can wait, it's sour cherry time!

So, get them if you still can and enjoy their taste all year long!

Let's start with the liqueur aperitif and then continue with amazing French influenced Duck breasts in sour cherry sauce!
Finish it off with some sour cherry strudel.



Sour cherry liqueur
1 lb (500 g) sour cherries
1 l strong alcohol (vodka, grappa, schnapps)
1 cup sugar (approximate)

Prepare sour cherries: wash truly, take out pits from the half of the fruit. If you have cherry-pitter machine available, use it. Wash a bottles or jars where you plan to make a liqueur.
Put a raw of sour cherries on the bottom than cover it with a little bit of sugar (couple of tablespoons), than fruit again etc.. At the end trow in few pits and pour the alcohol. Close the jar.
Leave it in the sunny window for about month and a half. Than store it in a cold place.
You can separate liqueur from the cherries after that or leave it in. Alcoholized sour cherries from this recipe can be used as a great addition to any cocktail or dessert.


Liqueur after one week in a window


Makes great present

Duck breasts with sour cherry sauce






3 duck breast halves
1 tbsp dried herbs de Provence
1 chopped shallot
1/2 tsp mustard
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
5 sour cherries fresh or frozen  (chopped)
salt, pepper

Now when you had your aperitif, continue with this tasty dish.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Rub duck breasts with herbs and salt and pepper. Make some cuts in the skin so the fat can drain during baking, properly. Put a duck skin side down in a pan or clay pot. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes and than flip so the skin is now up. Bake for about 10 minutes more so the skin is brown and crispy. Take a duck out and put your pan with all the duck drippings on the stove. Add a shallot and cook until translucent. Add sour cherries and cook for about five more minutes. Add wine and cook until thickens. Add mustard, salt.
Slice the duck. Arrange slices on a plate and spoon sauce over.
Serve with mashed garlic potato or parsnip and chicken pate on a toasted ciabatta. And of course your leftover wine.



Sour cherry Strudel




1 lb/500g fresh or frozen sour cherries (pitted and chopped)
1 apple (peeled and grated)
3 tbsp ground walnuts
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp sugar




In a heated pan cook sour cherries, apple and sugar for about 10-15 minutes. Add walnuts and breadcrumbs at the end. Let it cool. If your like your strudel more sweet, add more sugar. I prefer mine very tart.
Prepare a dough as shown on my Cook... page. For this amount of fruit you will need only half of dough.
After finishing strudel and putting it in an oiled baking pan, spread it with a water-oil-sugar combination (as explained on my Cook page). It will soften the dough during baking.
Bake it for about 1/2 hour on 190C/380F. Take it out and cool covered with a clean kitchen towel.
Dust it with a powder sugar and serve.

2 comments:

Reverend S said...

Ah I love hungarian cherry strudel, one of my favourites! Yours look very yummy :)

Zexxy's wife said...

Thanks ReverendS, you always have kind words for my cooking.
I hope to see your photos soon again, I enjoyed them very much!