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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Fruits & Nuts

RECIPE: Grilled Tropical Fruit Skewers

Here’s something special for Labor Day weekend: Turn grilled fruit into tropical fruit skewers. Thanks to Melissas.com, purveyors of premium produce, for the recipe.

We’ve also got dessert shots to go with the fruit: delicious coconut- or banana-flavored rum from Blue Chair Bay.

RECIPE: GRILLED TROPICAL FRUIT SKEWERS

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large ripe papaya, peeled seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 firm ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1 inch rounds
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut chips
  •  

    mango-papaya-kabobs-melissas-230

    Grilled fruit skewers topped with coconut chips. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     
    Variation: Pineapple is also a tropical fruit. Feel free to add some.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the brown sugar, orange juice and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add the cubes of mango, papaya and bananas, tossing gently to coat thoroughly.

    2. THREAD the fruit onto skewers alternating the fruits.

    3. GRILL over a medium hot barbeque or hibachi for approximately 4-5 minutes per side. You can also use a grill pan or broiler. Be sure to watch closely so the fruit does not burn.

    4. REMOVE to a serving plate and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Plum, Burrata & Pepita Salad

    plum-burrata-salad-beeraw-230r

    Summer plums with creamy burrata: a great
    union. Photo courtesy Bee Raw.

     

    We’re always in the mood for burrata. After making grilled grapes with burrata a few days ago, we whipped this up yesterday.

    This recipe combines fresh summer plums, creamy burrata cheese, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and honey into a dish that’s called a “salad,” but consider it a cheese course dessert.

    The contrasting textures, flavors, and colors are what we should aim for in every dish.

    The recipe is from Bee Raw Honey, which used its star thistle honey for extra special flavor. You can substitute pluots for the plums.

    Star thistle honey, harvested from wild star thistle plants in Colorado, is thick and creamy with hints of cinnamon. It also pairs well with apples—drizzled over apple slices or added to baked or roasted apples.

    RECIPE: PLUM SALAD WITH BURRATA, PEPITAS & HONEY

    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

  • 6 ounces burrata cheese
  • 3 plums
  • A a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A a few tablespoons star thistle or other honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • A few sprigs fresh mint
  • Preparation

    1. BREAK the burrata into about 24 bite-sized pieces,

    2. PIT and slice plums into 8 slices each, set aside.

    3. LAY out four salad or two dinner plates. Divide the burrata pieces equally among plates. Top the Burrata with plum slices. Dot plates with olive oil and honey, covering cheese and fruit with each.

    4. SCATTER each plate with pumpkin seeds and mint; serve immediately.

     

    WHAT IS BURRATA?

    Somewhere around 1920 in the town of Andria in the Puglia region of southern Italy, a member of the Bianchini family figured out how to repurpose the curds from mozzarella making. Burrata was born, a ball of mozzarella filled with creamy, ricotta-like curds. Cut into the ball and the curds ooze out: a wonderful marriage of flavors and textures.

    Their burrata was premium priced, made in small amounts, and remained the delight of the locals for some thirty years.

    In the 1950s, some of the local cheese factories began to produce burrata, and more people discovered its charms. Only in recent years, thanks to more economical overnighting of refrigerated products, did we find it in New York City’s finest cheese shops.

    Now, you can find domestic burrata anywhere there’s a Trader Joe’s. It’s just as delicious!

     

    sliced-whole-230

    Love that burrata! Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    WHAT’S A PLUOT?

    Pluots, plumcots and apriums are all hybrid combinations of plums and apricots, but with different percentages of each parent fruit’s DNA. The names are trademarked by their respective breeders.

    They were developed to present the best qualities of both fruits. For the consumer, this means more sweetness and juiciness; for the grower, easier to grow, harvest, and ship.

  • A plumcot is 50% plum/50% apricot. Developed by Luther Burbank in the 1920s, it is sweeter than either parent.
  • The pluot, also known as a “dinosaur egg” because of its speckled skin, was created by a California fruit breeder who wanted to improve on the plumcot. A pluot, sweeter than a plumcot, is primarily plum, with a range from 60% plum/40% apricot to 75% plum/25% apricot spanning more than 25 varieties. Because of the percentage of genes, it has the flavor of a plum but the mouthfeel of the apricot. Pluots have a higher sugar content and a more complex flavor profile than either a plum or an apricot.
  • An aprium is the reverse of the pluot: a mix of 70% apricot/30% plum, though it can vary, as long as it is 60% apricot or more. It looks like an apricot, but is sweeter than either an apricot or a plum.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilled Grapes With Burrata

    Here’s something we’d never have thought of, and we’re grateful to the folks at GQ for sending us the recipe.

    It’s a showstopping appetizer or cheese course that takes literally one minute to cook: red grapes with burrata cheese. Developed by chef Jeff Mahin, the dish has become a staple at his Stella Barra Pizzerias in L.A. and Chicago.

    “While using gas or charcoal to make it is fine, I prefer a screaming-hot wood grill,” says Jeff. “Just remember that when cooking with wood, you want to cook over glowing ruby red coals rather than the flame itself. Cooking directly over an open flame can impart a sour and soot-like flavor, which is never a good thing.”

    Note that since grapes will invariably fall off the bunch while you’re grilling them, a vegetable grilling basket will come in handy.

    RECIPE: GRILLED GRAPES WITH BURRATA

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound bunch seedless red grapes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 balls burrata cheese
  • Sea salt and olive oil
  • Rustic bread
  •  

    grilled-grapes-Peden+Munk-GQ-230r

    So simple, and unbelievably delicious. Photo courtesy GQ Magazine.

     

    Preparation

    1. WASH the bunch of grapes carefully under cold water and allow them to dry.

    2. WHISK together in a bowl: olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, chile flakes, garlic cloves. Add grapes and toss until coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

    3. PLACE bunch of grapes onto the center of a hot grill, using tongs. Grill for 30 seconds. Turn. Grill for another 30 seconds.

    4. RETURN grapes to marinade to cool for at least 10 minutes, coating them periodically.

    5. CUT grapes into small bunches. Plate. Drizzle on 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar. Serve with grilled bread and a half ball of burrata (or fresh mozzarella) seasoned with sea salt and olive oil.

    Find more delicious recipes in the GQ Grill Guide.
     
    ABOUT BURRATA CHEESE

    Somewhere around 1920 in the town of Andria in the Puglia region of southern Italy, a member of the Bianchini family figured out how to repurpose the curds from mozzarella making. Burrata was born, a ball of mozzarella filled with creamy, ricotta-like curds. Cut into the ball and the curds ooze out: a wonderful marriage of flavors and textures.

    Their burrata was premium priced, made in small amounts, and remained the delight of the locals for some thirty years.

    In the 1950s, some of the local cheese factories began to produce burrata, and more people discovered its charms. Only in recent years, thanks to more economical overnighting of refrigerated products, did we find it in New York City’s finest cheese shops.

    It was love at first bite…and enough Americans thought so that burrata is now made domestically. You can find it at Trader Joe’s.

    For dessert, here’s a delicious burrata and fresh fruit recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Panzanella & Fruit Salad

    mixed-fruit-panzanella-salad-kaminsky-230

    Fruit salad with bread (panzanella salad).
    Photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet
    Blog.

      Our colleague Hannah Kaminsky spent the summer in California, enjoying the wealth of produce that sunny state provides.

    “As a little ode to my Californian summer, it was only fitting to gather up a small sampling of what I had on hand, along with the famed sourdough bread that beckons irresistibly from the windows of every bakery. Fresh mint plucked straight from my tiny windowsill garden completed this little love note to my temporary, adoptive home state.

    “Light, fresh, fast, it’s the kind of recipe that depends entirely on the quality of your ingredients. Consider it as a serving suggestion; more of an idea than a specific schematic, to be tailored to whatever fruits are fresh and in season in your neck of the woods.”

    She calls this recipe California Dreamin’ Panzanella: a creative interpretation of the classic bread salad with ripe California fruit.

    RECIPE: PANZANELLA FRUIT SALAD

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 5 cups cubed sourdough bread
  • 2 cups pitted and halved cherries
  • 2 cups seedless grapes
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup regular or light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • Fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • Garnish: crème fraîche, mascarpone, whipped cream
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet in one even layer and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden and lightly toasted all over. Let cool completely before proceeding.

    2. WHISK together the sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper in a large bowl. Add all of the fruits and remaining ingredients (walnuts, mint).

    3. ADD in the toasted bread right before serving, to ensure that it stays crisp. Toss thoroughly so that everything is well distributed and entirely coated with the sugar dressing.

    3. SERVE immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.

     

    ABOUT PANZANELLA

    Panzanella is a savory Tuscan-style bread salad, made with a loaf of day-old (or older) Italian bread, cubed into large croutons and soaked in vinaigrette to soften it. Chopped salad vegetables are added.

    The translation we have found for “panzanella” is “bread in a swamp,” the swamp being the water or vinaigrette in which it is soaked.

    Here’s a classic panzanella salad recipe, with summer tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and fresh basil.
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tart Cherry Fruit Soup

    tart-cherry-soup-choosecherries-230

    Tart cherry soup can be a starter or dessert.
    Photo courtesy ChooseCherries.com.

     

    Here’s a follow-up to our recent recipe tip on fruit soup, which included a recipe for chilled blackberry soup.

    This recipe is easy as can be, using tart cherry juice. You can serve it as a starter; we like it as a dessert, with an optional scoop of fruit sorbet: blueberry, lemon, lime, raspberry or strawberry, for example.

    If you’re not adding sorbet, consider a garnish of fresh or dried cherries.

    Prep time 20 minutes plus 2-4 hours chilling time.

    RECIPE: TART CHERRY SOUP

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 24 ounces frozen tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, fresh cherries, dried cherries, Greek yogurt, sorbet, sour cream
  • Preparation

    1. GENTLY WHISK together tart cherry juice, red wine, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice in a medium pot. Add frozen tart cherries. Heat over medium to high heat until mixture comes to a boil.

    2. REDUCE heat to medium to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
    (Optional: Spoon tart cherries out and blend in a blender until smooth; add back to soup)

    3. ADD vanilla and sour cream to cooled soup; stir to combine and chill for 2 to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Serve chilled with optional garnish.

    Check out more cherry recipes from the Cherry Marketing Institute, ChooseCherries.com.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Smucker’s Fruit-Fulls

    fruitfulls-beauty-2-230

    Nothing but fruit: Remove cap, insert nozzle
    into mouth, enjoy. Photo courtesy Smucker’s.

     

    We haven’t liked every fruit squeeze pouch brand we’ve tried. Some of them, even though they’re all natural, don’t taste that way.

    But Smucker’s new Fruit-Fulls taste just like the orchard. For 80 calories, they’re a delicious, sweet grab-and-go treat.

    Made from Washington State apples, Fruit-Fulls are simple: just pure, sweet blended fruit, essentially applesauce, with no sugar added. The flavors include:

  • Apple
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Apple Mixed Berry
  • Apple Strawberry
  •  
    All are delicious, although we’re partial to the more complex flavors of Apple Mixed Berry and Apple Strawberry—more fruit flavor.

    Fruit-Fulls are available at stores nationwide, packaged in boxes of eight four-ounce pouches. Learn more at Smuckers.com.

     
    SERVING SUGGESTIONS

    Fruit pouches were meant to be enjoyed “from the pouch,” but we used the convenient nozzle to:

  • Add to plain yogurt
  • Top sorbet
  • Make a parfait
  • Make “fruit sandwiches,” filling sliced bananas and peaches
  •  
    TIP: Hide these from the kids or there won’t be any left for you.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Fresh Lychees

    lychee-baldorfood-230

    A peeled lychee. Photo courtesy Baldor Food.

     

    Lychee is a a tropical evergreen fruit tree native to southern China. The evergreen grows wild in southern China, northern Vietnam and Cambodia, although there is evidence that it has been cultivated since around 2000 B.C.E.

    Today it grows throughout southeast Asia, notably in southern Japan, India, Pakistan, north Thailand and Vietnam. More recently, the tasty fruit has been planted in California, Florida and Hawaii, ensuring U.S. fans a more reliable supply. Depending on location, the harvest runs from May through September.

    We’ve been coming across it in farmers markets: the skin of different varieties ranges from rosy red to pale dusty rose to golden tan and pale olive green. The paper-thin skin is peeled away to revel the milky white fruit inside. Here’s everything you’d ever want to know about lychee from Purdue School of Agriculture, including how to dry them in the skin.

    The fruit is also transliterated as litchi. Perhaps the more useful information, though, is how to pronounce lychee.

  • In south China, where the fruit originated, Cantonese is the dominant language and in Cantonese the fruit is pronounced LYE-chee. The transliteration from Cantonese is lai chi.
  • In Mandarin, the language of Beijing, however, it is pronounced LEE-chee.
  •  

    Like stone fruits (apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines), the lychee is a drupe, a fruit that has an outer fleshy part that surrounds a large, hard center seed. It has been called a “lychee nut” because the seed/pit looks like a glossy brown nut (it is definitely not a nut). The pit is inedible and slightly poisonous.

    The typical lychee is about one inch in diameter. The outer covering is a pink-red, roughly-textured rind that is inedible but easily peeled with one’s fingers. The flesh inside is white, translucent and sweet, rich in vitamin C, with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape. Children liken lychees to “eyeballs,” and you can see why in this photo.

    The fresh fruit has a floral aroma; one account says that the perfume is lost in the process of canning. However, canning adds sugar for a higher level of sweetness, and the organoleptic difference between fresh and canned lychee is not as drastic as, say, with peaches. The canned fruit has more integrity, like canned pineapple.

     

    BUYING & STORING LYCHEES

    Lychees are extremely perishable. Store in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.

    Or, freeze them whole, with the skin on. When they are defrosted, they’ll be fine. You can even eat them frozen: instant lychee sorbet. (You may have to run the frozen lychees under warm water for a few seconds to soften the skin.)
     
    In China, lychees are enjoyed out-of-hand. In the West, peeled and pitted, they are used in:

  • Baked ham, instead of pineapple rings
  • Canapés, stuffed with goat cheese or cream cheese and pecans
  • Chinese Chicken Salad
  • Cocktails (muddled or puréed with vodka or gin, and as a garnish)
  •  

    green-lychee-melissas-230

    So delicious; we wish there were less pit and more flesh. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

  • Eyeballs: Create lychee “eyeballs” for sweet cocktails and mocktails by stuffing the pit hole with blueberries, dried cranberries or pieces of grape. (For a savory cocktail, make a radish eyeball instead.)
  • Fruit Salad (delicious combined with banana, melon, mango, papaya, etc.)
  • Gelatin desserts
  • Green Salad
  • Sorbet
  • Parfaits & Sundaes
  •  
    For an exotic presentation, serve unpeeled lychees in dessert bowls over crushed ice (provide a bowl for the pits).
     
    LYCHEE RECIPES

  • Lychee Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Seared Tuna With Lychee Coulis Recipe
  • Lychee Agua Fresca Recipe
  •  
    There are dozens of recipes at LycheesOnline.com.
     
    LOVE THE FLAVOR OF LYCHEE?

    We find that St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur tastes like lychee (or perhaps it’s that elderflowers taste like lychee). We find it far superior to Soho lychee liqueur.

    Head out to find fresh lychees. Enjoy them today, and freeze some for later.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Tiger Figs

    What to look for in farmers’ markets and specialty produce stores: striped tiger figs. Or, buy them from Melissas.com.

    The Tiger Fig (also called Tiger Stripe fig and Candy Stripe fig) is prized as one of the most flavorful varieties in the marketplace. It is a light yellow, small to medium, pear-shaped fig with unique dark green stripes and crimson red interior fruit. It was bred in 1668, probably from a mutation.

    When fully ripe the fruit has a high sugar content and rich, jam-like texture and consistency. This taste yields a hint of strawberry or raspberry jam.

    You can eat it out of hand, dry it or make preserves. But something this special looking deserves to be showcased as a dessert or cheese course.

  • Serve with a frisée salad.
  • Pair with cheeses—everything from fresh goat cheese to your favorite strong cheeses.
  •    

    striped-tiger-figs-melissas-230

    Sweet tiger figs. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

  • Make a light compote to top ice cream or cheesecake (recipe below).
  • Bake a delicious fig tart.
  • Cook with roast chicken or pork.
  • Slice onto a cream cheese or goat cheese sandwich on multigrain or raisin bread.
  •  

    fresh fig and parma ham salad

    Figs and frisée salad. Photo courtesy SXC.

     

    Have a green thumb? Live in the right climate (zones 5-9)? Plant your own tiger fig trees.

    FIG FACTS

    Figs do not ripen off the tree, so buy those that are soft to the touch. The skin around stem should have begun to twist and wrinkle.

    Along with olives and grapes, figs are believed to be among the first fruits cultivated by man. Native to Western Asia (the Middle East and the Near East), Ficus carica has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.

    In order to develop flavor and sweetness, the fruit requires a long, warm season where temperatures regularly exceed 95°F. Figs, including the turkey fig, are grown in southern California. Turkey leads the world in fig production.

     

    RECIPE: FRESH FIG COMPOTE

    If the figs are very sweet, you may need only a scant amount of sweetener. You can use the compote as a bread spread and a condiment with sweet or savory foods.

    Ingredients For 2/3 Cup

  • 1 pound fresh figs
  • 1 to 6 tablespoons sugar or honey (or half as much agave)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. REMOVE the stems from cleaned figs and cut into quarters. Place figs, sweetener, water and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat.

    2. COOK for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

    3. PULSE, using an immersion blender or food processor, until desired consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: BerryBreeze Refrigerator Air Purifier

    Even if you don’t need an air purifier for your home, you may need one for your fridge.

    BerryBreeze is a 21st-century improvement on the open box of baking soda, left in the refrigerator or freezer to filter migrating aromas from raw and cooked foods.

    But BerryBreeze does more.

    The same process that neutralizes odors also preserves produce, by destroying harmful bacteria and mold that cause fruit and vegetables to decay. The manufacturer claims it will keep produce fresher for up to 10 days, or two to three times longer. The benefit: less waste of food and money, less to toss into the landfill.

    BerryBreeze is a rebranding of a machine called the Ozonator, which you may have seen on TV.

    It runs on four D batteries. The device converts the oxygen in the fridge to ozone (activated oxygen), a powerful oxidizing agent that destroys surface molecules of bacteria and mold. It also defuses ethylene, a gas emitted by numerous fruits (including apples and melons) which speeds up the ripening and rotting of foods.

     

    berry-breeze-230

    The same process that purifies the air helps produce last longer. Photo courtesy BerryBreeze.

     
    We tried it and it did seem to extend the life of fragile raspberries. The fridge smelled better, but the machine isn’t a miracle worker: You have to do your part to tightly cover odorous items and police for rot.

    BerryBreeze is available at retailers nationwide, including Bed, Bath & Beyond and Whole Foods Markets. You can also buy it online at BerryBreeze.com.

    The retail price is $49.95; you supply the batteries.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Select The Best Fresh Cherries

    Cherry season is fleeting—just a couple of weeks in some locations. It is also frustrating, because we’re not having a good cherry season this year. Every cherry we’ve sampled has been bland. They look good, but don’t deliver on the palate.

    The term “cherry-pick” is a hint. The expression comes from harvesting the fruit: The pickers are instructed to carefully select the ripe fruit only. Unlike other tree fruits, cherries don’t ripen or improve in flavor after they’re picked.

    Are we getting unripe fruit? Have growing conditions been substandard? Is the fruit mishandled after it’s harvested? We want answers (but more importantly, we want good cherries).

  • Picked too soon, cherries are pale and tasteless; too ripe, they’re soft and watery. According to Produce Pete, the best time to pick seems to be when the birds start eating them (birds have an instinct for ripe cherries).
  • Weather challenges are a fact of life: Produce is at the mercy of the growing season. Fruit needs sufficient heat to develop full flavor and can be harmed by excessive rain during crucial weeks, when water penetrates the skin and dilute the flavor.
  • Bad storage can easily diminish flavor and texture. Fruit doesn’t respond well to changing temperatures. From a warm grove to a hot or cold transport or storage room and back again, varying temperatures can wreak havoc. If you’re in a key cherry growing state (California, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, Washington State), you’ve got a better chance to get the best fruit.
  •    

    picota-cherries-basket-foodsfromspainFB-230

    Fresh cherries, one of the happy signs of summer. Photo courtesy Foods From Spain.

     

    TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT

    You can’t bite into a peach to see if it’s sweet enough before you buy it, but you can score a cherry. It’s the only way to make sure you’ll be happy with them.

    If the flavor doesn’t deliver, it’s not worth the calories if you’re looking to snack on raw fruit. Find another variety, keep tasting cherries as you come across them, and hope for a successful score elsewhere.

    This is not to say that you can’t use less flavorful cherries to make delicious cherry pies, tarts, jams, sauces or ice creams. In recipes, added sugar compensates for what’s missing in the fruit.

     

    queen-anne-bing-cherries-230r

    Queen Anne and Bing cherries. Photo courtesy Washington State Fruit Commission.

     

    REAL CHERRY PICKING: WHAT TO LOOK FOR

    While these tips don’t ensure that the fruit will be sweet, they’re a good start:

  • Firmness. The most common varieties (Bing, Rainier, Queen Anne) should be firm. However, some heirloom varieties (Black Tartarian is an example) are naturally softer. Be sure to taste them: Some heirloom cherries have the best flavor.
  • Plumpness. Good cherries will be plump and dark for their variety and have fresh, green stems, indicating that they were recently harvested. Cherries without stems won’t keep as well as fruits with intact stems.
  • Size. Look for fruits that are large for their variety and avoid smaller fruits with a higher proportion of pit and skin to flesh.
  • What To Avoid. Shriveled skin, dried stems and dull patina indicate cherries that are over the hill. Leaking flesh and brown discoloration are signs of decay.
  •  
    If the cherries aren’t sweet enough in their natural state, perhaps a homemade cherry tart will put you in the summer grove?

    Our favorite easy tart recipe follows; pâte brisée is our tart crust of preference.

     
    The most demanding part of the recipe is pitting the cherries. You don’t need a cherry pitter.

  • Pit cherries with a paper clip.
  • Pit cherries with a pastry tip.
  •  
    EASY CHERRY TART RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Pâte brisée (recipe below)
  • 4-6 cups cherries, depending on tart size, pitted
  • 1 jar currant jelly
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE pâte brisée crust.

    RECIPE: PÂTE BRISÉE

    Pâte brisée (pot bree-ZAY), or short crust*, is a buttery tart crust with a crumbly texture. It is used for sweet and savory pies, tarts and quiches. It can be made several days in advance and kept in the fridge, or frozen for a month.

    Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PULSE the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse 15 seconds, until the ingredients resembles coarse meal.

    2. ADD 1/4 cup ice water through the feed tube in a slow stream, until the dough just holds together when pinched (add remaining water as needed). Do not process more for than 30 seconds.

    3. PLACE the dough on a work surface and gather it into a ball; divide ball into two equal pieces, flatten into a disk and tightly wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.

    4. PRESS into tart pan, refrigerate or freeze for later use (defrost in the fridge for several hours or overnight). First spray tart pan with cooking spray if desired.

    5. BAKE. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour before adding fruit.
     
    *Brisée actually is a participle of the French verb briser, which means to break, shatter or smash. We don’t know the origin, but inspired by the store of ganache, we like to think cookware was broken by whomever created the recipe.

      

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