No, no, not Cherries Jubilee – that’s the hot dessert. This is about cold dessert – two of them – and both with cherries.
As you may have guessed based on recent posts, I’m pretty obsessed with frozen desserts this summer. First came the Minted Honeydew Sorbet in June, then the Peach Frozen Yogurt and the Apricot Sorbet in July. Now it’s August, and cherries are everywhere.
Frankly, there’s nothing more fun to do with fresh, juicy fruit before it disappears from the market. I know, you can preserve it – and I will – but sorbets and frozen yogurts and ice creams present the fruit with much less sugar and offer a taste that’s much closer to the fruit itself. Whether or not you are entertaining, these are great, light desserts. But if you are entertaining, they have a number of excellent points in their favor:
■ They can be made ahead of time.
■ They add great color to the table.
■ With the addition of nuts or chocolates or cookies or brownies to the plate, you have a dessert that appears complex – multiple textures and flavors – with little effort.
■ On a relative basis with other desserts, they’re low fat and low cal.
In addition to the frozen dessert thing, I’ve been struck this season with a mania for cherries. I’ve discovered sour cherries at the farmers’ market, and Bing cherries and Ranier cherries at most grocery stores right now. I had to make two batches of the Sour Cherry Frozen Yogurt, as my husband inhaled the first batch before I remembered to get a photo of it. And, by the way, you can make the frozen yogurt with Bing cherries if you can’t find the sour ones.
Kitchen Goddess note: For either of these recipes, you will want a cherry pitter. Even with this little instrument, pitting cherries is a bit tedious. But if you catch your husband (or a friend or son/daughter) in a weak moment, with the promise of a delicious frozen treat to come, you may be able to avoid the pitting yourself. It turns out that pitting cherries is an activity that can be done while watching golf on television.
Sour Cherry Frozen YogurtMakes about 3 cups.
1 pound fresh sour cherries, pitted (measured unpitted)
¾ cup sugar
1 piece fresh ginger, peeled, about 2 inches long
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (your choice: fat-free, 2%, or whole milk)
In a non-reactive saucepan, stir together the pitted cherries, the sugar, and the ginger. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to encourage the juices to flow. Remove from heat and let the cherries cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, throw away the ginger. Purée the cherries and juices in a blender until smooth (2-3 minutes). Chill the purée well, then process according to your ice cream machine instructions.
Kitchen Goddess note: Sour cherries have a refreshingly tart taste that balances well with creamy yogurt. I’ve made it with 2% yogurt and with fat-free yogurt; the tastes and textures are the same, but the fat-free yogurt gets frozen a bit more solidly, and so can be difficult to scoop. However, if you simply leave it out for 10-12 minutes, it will soften enough to serve.
I’ve not tried this sorbet with Ranier cherries, which are slightly sweeter and have a more delicate flavor than the Bings. But the color is so luscious with the Bing cherries, I may not bother with trying.
2 pounds Bing cherries
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh!)
1 large strip lemon zest (½ inch by 2 inches)
1 tablespoon Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur (other options: 1 tablespoon kirsch or ⅛ teaspoon almond extract)
Place pitted cherries, water, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest into a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cook at low simmer 10-15 minutes, until the cherries are very soft. Remove from heat and let the cherries cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, throw away the zest strip and add the ginger liqueur (or whatever other flavoring you want). Purée the cherries and juices in a blender until smooth (2-3 minutes). Chill the purée well, then process according to your ice cream machine instructions.