July 30, 2004

a byproduct that was as good as the main product

Wednesday, July 28

I know their time's over now, but I bought a pack of bing cherries a while ago and it's been sitting in the fridge unused. No, they haven't been forgotten, ever, but I had a plan to use them for a dessert for which I haven't had time.
In the meantime the cherries ripened and ripened and ripened to the point on which they might be a bit too mature to be used fresh. Well, they weren't bad or anything yet, so I decided to use them in cake.

Since I didn't have much time to cook today, I sought for something easy and quick, and got to this recipe (in Japanese). It seemed an easy one and I happened to have everything called for in the recipe in my fridge, this one was today's winner.

Although it wasn't required, I wanted to marinate my cherries with liquor before they dive into cake. First thing popped into my head was kirschwasser, German-born dry cherry brandy, but I didn't have one at home, unfortunately. I did have some white wine that I have been using for cooking, so I thought this was going to be the one. I cut cherries in half and pitted them, put them in a glass cup, added a bit of sugar and poured a generous doze of white wine, which immediately became pinky with the juice from the cherries. Since white wine wouldn't give as much flavor as the cherry brandy would, I wanted to add something to boost my cherry/wine mixture; some spice, maybe... cinnamon? no, not cinnamon, then... there came a few whole cloves, thrown into the cup of cherries and wine. It already smelled good.

A couple of hours later I started making the batter. Using sour cream, it was a bit like coffee cake batter. I added some slivered almonds just because I had them, and again I used some ground clove here. The recipe was intended for a loaf of cake, but I casually make them in cupcake cups. I divided the batter into cups, and arranged drunken cherry halves on top of each, and transferred them into the oven.

The cakes might not look very pretty with all those wrinkled baked cherries, but tasted lovely. I had been tempted to add the flavored wine to the batter, but I was glad I hadn't; it would have made the cakes soggy. My cakes had a nice, cookie-like texture which that went good with still juicy and aromatic cherries, with a hint of sweet spiciness of clove.

And what happened to the wine left alone once the cherries had gone? They made a nice, small glass of desert wine. When I was pouring wine over the cherries, I had already had this idea in my mind, so I used a plenty of wine rather than just a bit. The once white wine had turned into beautiful burgundy red, and had a taste that reminded of that of port wine. As we shared the small glass of the byproduct, he didn't figure that had been white wine. He doesn't care for fresh cherry much, and so he didn't seem to like the cakes much either, unfortunately, but liked the wine at least. As for myself, well, I like cherry and I liked the cake and I enjoyed my dessert wine very much, as well.... My (alternative) plan to use up cherries brought about two delights to me, that is "killing two birds with one stone", perhaps?


Estelle said...

Boy, your pictures are gorgeous!

chika said...

Hi Estelle,
thanx (^-^)/