Make these two easy, show-stopping desserts using cherries
The cherry season may be short but the flavour everlasting with two easy show-stopping desserts.
Red and juicy, the fruit has long been linked to the most magical time of the year, Christmas.
Here are two cherry-delight recipes shared by two food influencers, courtesy of Cherry Time, producers of fine cherries from Ceres in the Western Cape.
EASY PEASY CHERRY POP TARTS
500ml (2 cups) cherries, pitted and halved
60ml (4 tbsp) sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
2.5ml (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
15ml (1 tbsp) cornflour mixed into paste with
15ml (1 tbsp) water
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
500g puff pastry sheets, cut into equal size rectangles
15ml (1 tbsp) water
Sugar for sprinkling
30ml (2 tbsp) reserved cherry filling
125ml (½ cup) icing sugar, sifted
- For the filling combine the cherries, sugar, lemon and cinnamon in a small pan. When the mixture comes to the boil add the cornflour paste and whisk until thick and syrupy.
- Add the vanilla extract then remove from heat and cool completely.
- Prepare the pastry by cutting it into equal size rectangles, big enough to hold a tablespoon of cherry filling, and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- To assemble, on every alternate pastry rectangle place in the centre a tablespoon of the cherry filling (ensuring you keep aside 2 tablespoons for the glaze), allowing for a border, then cover with another pastry rectangle, sealing the ends by using the tip of a fork to indent the edges.
- Place the uncooked tarts in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Make the egg wash by combining the egg and water and whisk together lightly. Remove tarts from freezer, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar before baking for 20 minutes. Cool while making the cherry glaze.
- To make the glaze, mix the icing sugar, cherry filling and water, if necessary, a teaspoon at a time, to give you a fairly runny glaze to spoon over the cooled tarts. Serve with ice cream or custard if desired.
Tip: If you can’t find any ready-made puff pastry you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry.
MERRY CHERRY PAVLOVAS
To whip up the dessert with a dash of speed use shop-bought meringue baskets and mini meringues.
250ml (1 cup) fresh cherries, pitted
250ml (1 cup) sugar
250ml (1 cup) water
5ml (1 tsp) fresh lemon juice
4 egg whites at room temp
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
10ml (2 tsp) white vinegar
250ml (1 cup) fresh cream
45ml (3 tbsp) cherry syrup, from recipe above
A big handful of fresh pitted cherries, sliced
- In a pot over a medium heat bring the cherries, sugar, water and lemon juice to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat then using a wooden spoon push down hard on the cherries before pouring the syrup through a sieve into a bowl. Push as much liquid through the sieve as possible. Cool syrup completely.
- For the meringues, preheat the oven to 130°C. Place a piece of baking paper onto a baking tray.
- Using an electric mixer whip the egg whites till very stiff, adding a pinch of salt will speed up the process, then add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time then beat till very thick and glossy. Add the vinegar and mix for 3 minutes.
- Spoon meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and pipe out flat circles, about 10cm wide. For the tops, using star-shaped nozzles pipe out little meringues next to each other to form little constellations. Bake the meringues for 60 minutes. Once done, turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven.
- To serve, beat the cream till stiff then gently stir in the syrup and sliced cherries. Place a meringue disc on a plate, add a big dollop of cream, then top that with a meringue constellation. Pour cherry syrup over them just before serving.
Tip: To save time, instead of making the meringues buy ready-made ones.