Tag Archives: fruit dessert

Sour Cherries Leave a Sweet Taste…

This may be one of my shortest blog posts ever!!! Rejoice all of you who secretly wish I would just “get to the point” (or the recipe) when I publish something :)! This is the story of me making sour cherry pie filling for the very first time in my entire life. Why did I wait so long to try make this? I dunno… I thought it would be long and difficult? I didn’t know how? It’s easy to buy it ready made? I never saw fresh sour cherries at the market before? Or maybe never noticed them before? Who knows… There is always a first for everything and this was mine. Ironic because cherry is my favourite pie ever. It so happens to land close second with the King, his numero uno desserts being apple baked in “everything”. It happens that it also was my father-in-law’s ultimate favourite pie of all times and I am always reminded of him when a cherry pie graces our dinner table. Fond memories indeed!

I was bumming around the farmer’s stall on the Byward Market (no surprise here) for my weekly fill of all the good stuf in season this past Saturday when I saw these shiny crimson red beauties. Next thing I knew, they were in my shopping basket. What to do, what to do??! My friend Google came to the rescue and to my surprise, site after site after site offered pretty much the same ingredients/steps. So I won’t really credit anyone here except that I settled on “AllRecipes.com” for the basic guidelines. As for the pastry well… Drum roll please, it is confession time: I am useless, completely useless at making pie dough. Sometimes it turns out and other times, it is a HUGE fiasco. I will never, ever share a “how to make pie dough” recipe on this site. Ever! Pie dough is my nemesis, pinky swear! I could tell you stories about pie crust disasters. And I can have a few friends tell you I am not exaggerating either. Like this one time when I had 24 tourtières to make for a catering order at a very busy time of year and I called my buddy Laura SC in tears at 10pm on a Saturday night because all I was ending up with were mountains of crumbs… But that is a story for another day. I said I would get to the point: so I used, instead of making from scratch, ta ta ta tum… wait for it… Frozen puff pastry. Yup, there, I’ve said it out loud! I used frozen puff pastry from the grocery store. Marvellous little invention I say :). So project sour cherry turnover was done in a jiffy with homemade from scratch sour cherry filling and frozen pastry dough. I think regular pie dough or puff pastry dough can be used interchangeably. Best damn sour cherry filling I ever had!

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Who can resist these hot, flaky pockets of sweetness?
Sour Cherry Pie Filling and Turnovers

All the recipes I came across in my Google searches offered pretty much the same ingredients in the same proportions. I added cinnamon, just because :).

What you need

  • 4 cups pitted fresh sour cherries (I used a traditional cherry/olive pitting tool)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • Egg wash or heavy cream
  • Optional: toasted almond and powder sugar crumble (instructions follow)

How to make it

  1. Rinse and using a little gadget or the tip of a paring knife, remove the pit from all the cherries
    Cherry pitting
    Cherry pitting
  2. Add the cherries to a heavy bottom pot.
    Time to feel the heat!
    Cooking sour cherries
  3. In a separate bowl, combine together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt
  4. Add to the cherries and mix well to coat evenly. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant silicone spatula or wooden spoon
    Coating well with sugar and cornstarch
    Adding sugar and cornstarch
  5. Once the mixture starts to thicken, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the cherries have softened, anywhere between 6 to 10 minutes.
    Starting to bubble away
    Cooking sour cherries
  6. Remove from heat and let cool completely
  7. Once the filling is completely cooled off, you can make the turnovers
  8. Set oven to 400°F and place rack on the middle position
  9. Cut each pastry sheet in 9 squares. Prepare only one sheet at a time keeping the other sheet refrigerated until needed.
  10. Set a small amount of filling in the middle of each square, slightly wet the edges and fold in a triangle. Using a forks, seal the edges well.
    Stuff, fold, crinkle, repeat
    They are starting to look yummy!

    Resist the urge to overfill!
    Puff pastry squares getting a big scoop of cherry pie filling
  11. Place on baking sheet and brush with egg wash (1 egg yolk well mixed with a tablespoon of water) heavy cream if you have on hand.
  12. The turnovers are ready to bake. It will take 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep an eye on them after 10 minutes. They are ready when they have developed a deep golden colour. And maybe the filling will ooze out just like mine did, that’s okay: nothing that a fork can’t fix when it is time to eat
  13. You can top with an almond and powdered sugar crumble after the egg wash has been brushed on. To make the crumble, you will need about 1/2 cup toasted almonds and 3 tbsp powdered sugar whizzed through a food processor until it reaches a coarse and crumbly mixture. Pat a generous amount on top of each turnover. The baking time remains the same.

These are best eaten warm and right away! As if you could wait…

Time to devour!
This picture barely happened before the turnovers were chowed down!
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Hazelnut Maple Baked Stuffed Apples

Coming back home to an empty fridge yet knowing I have zero intention (or motivation) of going out to a grocery store on a snowy Sunday is a challenge.  Especially after nearly 3 weeks of restaurant food; we were all craving a bit of normalcy. Don’t take me wrong here:  I loved the break and loved French food but since the vacay was over, it was time to roll up the sleeves and get cookin’.  Such a challenge is usually all the inspiration I need to whip up a meal from the stuff that keeps (root vegetables, condiments and hard fruit), the freezer buddies and the pantry. Thank goodness for my recent insanity while exploring Ottawa’s brand new Whole Foods Market: I may have over bought then and over stocked less than 10 days before departure to France but I was thankful to return to a somewhat functional kitchen. Words of wisdom before leaving for vacation: make sure your pantry,  freezer and long lasting produce are topped off BEFORE you leave. Even eggs will last at least 3-4 weeks! A quick stop to get milk and bread upon your return is all you need to get going… Yesterday, without stepping outside once, I was able to dish out a 3 course meal including these lovely baked apples, a fragrant cabbage & potato soup (Yay for bacon in the freezer), and tandoori chicken with basmati rice and peas!

The apples were a bit past prime: the skin was wrinkled a bit  which meant no one would want to chomp on one of them at this point… Perfect for cooked apples! Baked apples are nothing new in this world but I didn’t feel like searching for a recipe so this is what I came up with: rummaging through my pantry and condiment shelf in the fridge, I was happy to find roasted hazelnuts, maple syrup, butter and dried fruits. I opted for raisins and cherries but any other lovely dried fruit would do… I love the flavour of toasted nuts: I suggest hazelnuts here simply because I already had some in my pantry. You can use any nut you like as long as they are toasted to bring our maximum flavour.

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6-7 apples

1 cup toasted hazelnuts

1/4 cup each dried cherries and raisins (or any dry fruit you enjoy: candied ginger works nicely here too)

1/4 cup cold butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Topping
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup maple syrup
A little knob of butter per Apple
Cinnamon to sprinkle

Set oven at 325F

This recipe is super easy. Even cooler yet: I used a melon baller to core the inside of the apples. I would love to claim this genius idea as my own but alas, I am sure I am poaching it from someone else: it just decide to pop out of brain oblivion at this precise moment! So lets pretend it is my genius idea!!!

Wash the apples, cut a thin layer off the bottom so they will lay flat. Core the centre digging in from the top. Once cored, you can slice a bit off the top as well to create a flat surface

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In a small food processor, chop hazelnuts coarsely. Add the dried fruit, 1/4 cup cold butter, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and blend again until the mixture starts binding slightly together.

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Stuff each apple with this mixture and sprinkle the rest over the apples and in the baking dish. Mix the water and maple syrup together: drizzle all over the apples. Top with a little knob of butter on each and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Cover the pan with foil for the first 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 to 30 minutes more. Your apples are ready when the flesh is tender inside. Sometimes, the skin cracks a bit but that is fine. Serve warm plain or with a creamy delight of your choice: crème anglaise, ice cream, yogurt, crème fraîche… You get the idea!

These keep well in the fridge and warm up equally as good :). Family approved!!!

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