A few weeks ago I had been lamenting the fact that I hadn’t had a chance to bake much this summer. The heat wave in July just about zapped all the cooking energy out of me. Summers should be filled with homemade pies, cobblers, and sorbets, but I had been resorting to the store-bought versions instead. Which was sad, given all the bright beautiful fruits in the markets.
Or as my friend Dave said a few weeks ago,”It’s one of life’s great tragedies that the best season for food is the worst season for cooking.”
But August? August has been almost perfect, weather-wise. Some nights have even started to feel like fall, which I’m 100% happy about. So when my friend Veronica asked me to be a part of the Cherry Challenge that her company OXO was sponsoring with Northwest Cherry Growers, to be sent 10 lbs of cherries and equipment for making cherry-filled goodies, I was game.
Yes, these tasted as good as they look.
Last weekend a few friends came by to eat and drink and hang out before the Beck concert in Prospect Park. I made mini cherry cobblers in little ramekins. The cherry pitting was a bit challenging, though the OXO cherry pitters and nesting bowls made the job easier. I didn't have brandy on hand to add to the cherry filling, but a splash of white rum worked splendidly. Note to self: have vanilla ice cream on hand, always!
It was my first time baking with fruit this summer and most likely won't be my last.
We also made cherry mojitos by muddling cherries and adding the usual mojito ingredients. (Rum seemed to be the 2nd theme of the day.)
The recipes from the other Cherry Challenge participants will be up on Facebook on Tuesday, so you can go and vote for your favorites. Check out the other participants here! (Recipes following the list.)
Mini Cherry Cobblers
- 6 cups cherries, pitted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pitted cherries, sugar, flour, and white rum.
- In another large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, light brown sugar, melted butter, and salt. Mix until the topping is well-combined and a bit crumbly.
- Butter twelve 3.5-inch ramekins. Divide the cherry filling evenly between the ramekins, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Add the crumbly topping evenly between the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes before eating. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 1 drink
- 8 cherries, pitted
- 15 to 20 mint leaves, plus a nice sprig for garnish
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 2 ounces light rum
- Club soda
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cherries with the mint, sugar, lime, and rum. (If you'd like a stronger cherry flavor, muddle the cherries with the rum, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours before combining with the sugar and lime.) Add a few ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a glass with ice. Top off with club soda and serve.