Sunday, July 10, 2011

What am I supposed to do with all these cherries?

The subject of fresh produce is inexhaustible! And regularly leads me into trouble... the giant crate of cherries was only $6 at the farmers market - so I now have two! Jeff never says anything when I bring home more produce than two people can reasonably expect to consume in a year, but he has this one particular expression that allows me to read his mind. He nods, he smiles, but I can hear his thoughts....oh my god what are we going to do with all these cherries is she crazy can we fit them in the fridge no! She's leaving them on the floor I'm going to be stepping over them all week I'm telling her mom!

I promise they will become cherry pie filling sometime this week...

Meanwhile, they call to me.

We don't have any bread in the house since Jeff ate it all yesterday (see Pea Toast). I was thinking I wanted a poached egg for breakfast. Poached eggs require bread, preferably a sweetish bread. Sweet took me back to the cherries, and I decided to see whether you can make scones with fresh cherries in them.

Scones? Why scones? Why not muffins like a sensible person? Well, I admit I did consider muffins, but I generally find them too sweet. I know, it sounds like a bit of a contradiction, since I was specific wanting something sweet to put my eggs on. But not too sweet. What can I say? Life is built on these subtle distinctions.

Anyway, it turns out that you can make scones with fresh cherries in them. Although I may have overdone the cherries. Not untypical of me. I mean, if two cherries will make something taste pretty good, fifty cherries will make it amazing, right? Fifty cherries will also make it fall apart a little more easily than one might like. Who cares?

Cherry scones

1-1/2 cups whole Ontario Sweet Cherries (I bet you could make this recipe with cherry pie filling rather than fresh cherries. I'll sort that out after I make the pie filling)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter (or frozen butter)
3/4 cup cream (table cream works well. Milk is ok if it's all you have, but cream is better for scones)
1 tsp Vanilla

If you don't have a cherry/olive pitter, buy one. This is one of those little devices that you go on for years claiming you don't need. Then someone sticks one in your Christmas stocking and within 15 minutes you find you can't live without it. Seriously.

Pit cherries and cut them in half. If they are a little sour, sprinkle a tablespoon or more sugar on them and let them sit. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture, and then rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Stir in the cherries. Make a well in centre of the flour mixture. Pour the cream and vanilla into the well and stir just until firm dough barely forms.

Turn out onto a floured surface. I used more flour here than I might normally for scones because the cherries were marvelously oozing juice all over the place. Knead three times. Divide in half; pat each half into 3/4-inch thick 6-inch (15 cm) circle. Cut each into 6 wedges.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place scones slightly apart on sheet. Bake on centre rack at 450°F (until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve with soft poached eggs, or just eat up with fresh butter and a dash of salt.

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