A bowl of cher­ries is, well, a bowl of cher­ries, but there’s more to be done with this fetch­ing fruit. Matt Pre­ston has a wealth of ways to make the most of their all-too-short sea­son.

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Delicious - Masterchef Most of the recipes men­tioned here are avail­able at de­li­

2. @mattscra­vat @Mattscra­vat

WHEN it comes to fruit, what gets you ex­cited? Cus­tard ap­ple sea­son? Plums in the su­per­mar­ket at a killer price? The first quinces? Yeah, prob­a­bly not.

But men­tion Aussie cher­ries are back in sea­son and watch the ex­cite­ment grow. What is it about the taut-skinned black or crim­son dan­glers that makes us so thrilled to see them back in the shops at an af­ford­able price?

The an­swer comes when you bite into your first cherry of the sea­son – juicy, sweet and oc­ca­sion­ally delectably sour, the flesh de­liv­ers on its prom­ise. The juice is as wel­come run­ning down your chin as it is adding mys­tery and so­phis­ti­ca­tion to a clas­sic Bellini cock­tail in­stead of the usual peach.

While a bowl of fat cher­ries served on ice was one of my most mem­o­rable restau­rant desserts of last year – so sim­ple, so per­fectly de­li­cious – their ver­sa­til­ity pro­vides much joy in many guises, whether it’s a cherry clafoutis, Black For­est cake or (even more retro) a cher­ries ju­bilee on vanilla ice-cream. In fact, pair cher­ries with any­thing vanilla, al­mond or co­conut and you have a hit on your hands.

In the savoury realm, try cher­ries, poached, pick­led or fresh, as a gar­nish for a salad with goat’s cheese or with roast duck and hazel­nuts. Pick­led cher­ries or a cherry and port com­pote work well with cheese or Christ­mas ham, and with smoked trout ac­cord­ing to Hugh Fearn­ley-whit­tingstall. Here are 10 more won­der­ful ideas for cher­ries.

1. Make cherry jam to use with vanilla or choco­late gelato in ice-cream sand­wiches, or in our cherry-rip­ple ice-cream (find it at de­li­

Pair cher­ries with al­monds in a clas­sic Amer­i­can pie, frangi­pane tart or crum­ble. Bet­ter yet, fea­ture sour cher­ries at the heart of a cherry galette – just about the eas­i­est free-form tart you could make and even quicker when made with good shop-bought pas­try. If you can’t find sour cher­ries try Sil­via Col­loca’s trick of adding vin­cotto or a lit­tle bal­samic vine­gar when cook­ing the cher­ries.

Even sim­pler, buy a pre-made, pre-cooked tart case, fill it with whipped cream and Greek yo­ghurt slightly sweet­ened with ic­ing sugar and then cover it all with loads of halved and pit­ted fresh cher­ries. Make a syrup with any juice you catch dur­ing the pit­ting process and a few ex­tra cher­ries cooked down with Croa­t­ian cherry wine and a lit­tle sugar. No Croa­t­ian cherry wine? No prob­lem. Aussie port-style wine with a strip of lemon zest will do al­most as well. Mash the cooked cher­ries and pass all the con­tents of the pan through a sieve. If you don’t like al­co­hol in your cook­ing try gen­tly brewed (ie not stewed) rooi­bos tea in­stead. Driz­zle this syrup over the tart and spritz it with rose­wa­ter be­fore serv­ing.


If you want to step up this idea, try my cherry, choco­late and vanilla tartlets (pic­tured above), which are filled with a sim­ple crème fraîche ice-cream to help high­light the nat­u­ral sweet­ness of the cher­ries. Use rose­wa­ter here, too.


5. Try Sil­via Col­loca’s schi­ac­ciata with vin­cotto cher­ries – an easy sweet bread stud­ded with cher­ries and fra­grant with vin­cotto and thyme.

6. The world is be­set by col­labs and why should cher­ries miss out on this achingly fash­ion­able cross-pol­li­na­tion? I’m rather proud of my in­di­vid­ual Black For­est pavlo­vas, for in­stance. These choco­late meringues loaded with fresh and poached cher­ries, whipped crème fraîche and dark choco­late ‘take the pavlova on a hol­i­day to Baden-würt­tem­berg with all the flavours of the clas­sic gâteau but in a lighter Aussie id­iom’ or so said the quar­terly mag­a­zine of the Narrabeen Pavlova Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Society.

7. Make a cherry cheese­cake. Load your favourite cheese­cake recipe (I hope it’s mine) with halved cher­ries set in port jelly af­ter bak­ing. Also hide a layer of that cherry jam on the cen­tre of the bis­cuit base be­fore cook­ing.

Make a cherry granita with sparkling wine for the per­fect light fin­ish to a sum­mer meal.


9. A de­con­structed tra­di­tional tri­fle can yield great re­sults like War­ren Men­des’ glasses of panet­tone, choco­late and cherry tri­fle. Or take on the chal­lenge of mak­ing James Viles’ burnt cherry tri­fle that will see you whip­ping up a cherry sor­bet, cherry jelly, choco­late crumbs and burn­ing cher­ries for a show­stop­ping end to a meal. Both recipes are avail­able on the web­site, and the use of air quotes is greatly en­cour­aged when pre­sent­ing ei­ther of these ‘tri­fles’ to the ta­ble.

Far less im­pres­sive is my cheat’s cherry ice- cream. This can be made with frozen cher­ries or with fresh cher­ries that you have pit­ted and frozen your­self. It’s as sim­ple as blitz­ing lightly crushed frozen-hard cher­ries with egg­whites and a lit­tle sugar. El­e­vate this by pair­ing it with my cheat’s co­conut ice- cream (made without an ice- cream ma­chine) and a crack­able dark- choco­late hard sauce to make things ‘cherry right’. You’ll find a video of how to make this on the



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