It is peak cherry season! These recipes bring out the best in California’s crop

If you see Ben Mims’ Cherry Cobbler story last week and/or if you read news on Sunday, you know well that we’re at California’s peak during a cherry season. Here in our sunny state, it’s mostly sweet, juicy crimson Bings plenty from mid-May to late June, which means you only have a few weeks to fully gather the locally grown delights. If you need more time to get fresh cherries than SoCal allows, Pacific Northwest cherries are on sale now and will be available through the end of August.

Filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds like polyphenols and vitamin C, cherries are the little health-promoting nutritional bomb. Animal and human studies show that eating cherries can reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. There is also evidence to suggest that consuming cherries can improve cognitive function and sleep. Hell, if a bowl of cherries is what it takes to prevent metabolic syndrome, I say bring it in! And if you can’t resist gobbling them all up as soon as – or even before you bring them home, try one or more of these delicious cherry-like recipes.

Almost like American apple pie, sweet cherry pie responding in a different way. Instead of the cinnamon spices that come with the apples, a dash of orange liqueur and a touch of vanilla add depth to the cherry flavors.

Described by Julia Child as a flan filled with fruit, clafoutis is what the French do in cherry season. A simple, pancake-like mixture is poured onto a baking dish filled with fresh cherries and baked until golden and firm. To prevent red streaks from “bleeding” cherries, the French often leave pitting marks on the cherries. If you choose to follow suit, remember to give a warning when you serve.

Cherries roasted in brandy create a rich top layer that combines nicely with notes of corn and almonds. Polenta cake with baked cherries – a spectacular flavor combination.

Rye flour adds suppleness and subtle complexity to your pastries Cherry Rye Hand Pies. If the extra size of the rye isn’t enough, the cherry liqueur fills convenient portable bags fortified with Madiera and balsamic vinegar.

Fascinated with garnet-like cherries, Cherry, Honey And Fennel Bread is a nice looking quick bread made with whole wheat flour for extra texture and nutty flavor.

If you’d rather start your meal with cherries than wait for dessert, or end your meal with the first and last cherries, try Cold spiced cherry soup. Balsamic is a game changer here – the acidity and caramel sweetness balance out the cherries beautifully.

And if cherries are not enough, Warm steak salad with Sherried cherries It’s a dish that’s rich in flavor and also boasts bragging rights for its simplicity: If you don’t count the salt and pepper, it requires just five ingredients and can be ready in less than an hour. A little soaking in sherry vinegar will give the cherries a bit of life.

Burlat cherries are roasted in a mixture of vanilla, brandy and sugar, then served with a red almond cake.

Time1 hour

yieldsServe 8

Steak, arugula, and cherries soaked in sherry make for a simple, elegant meal that’s delicious on a busy weekend night and incredibly delicious.

Time45 mins

yieldsServe 2

Rye flour adds a delicate, nutty, complex flavor to this pastry, complementing the brightness of cherries soaked in balsamic vinegar and Madiera wine.

Time2 o’clock

yieldsMake 12 cupcakes by hand.

The dough for clafoutis is a simple mixture of flour, sugar, eggs and milk, seasoned with vanilla beans. It is traditionally made with cherries but many other fruits can be used.

Time1 hour 30 minutes

yieldsServes 6 to 8

This cake is simple but rich with flavor and slightly firm texture from fresh fruit. A touch of Grand Marnier and vanilla brighten the flavor and add depth to the cherries.

Time1 hour 30 minutes

yieldsCake 1 (9 inches)

This slightly sweet soup is an adaptation of a classic Hungarian dish. It is an elegant first course for an early summer dinner.

Time40 minutes

yieldsServes 6 to 8

This beautiful whole grain bread is studded with cherries that look like garnets.

Time1 hour 10 minutes

yieldsServe 12 It is peak cherry season! These recipes bring out the best in California’s crop

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