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Get cherry picking!

cherriesThis month cherries are in abundance but they have a very short growing season so now’s the time to get to your local market or supermarket and buy yourself a few punnets. They are a very versatile fruit going well with meats and for making desserts plus they are an excellent source of both Vitamin A and C. I’ve chosen two cherry recipes for today’s post – one you can drink and the other you can eat!

cherry vodkaCherry Vodka – makes 750ml

Ingredients:

  • 400g cherries
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 70cl bottle vodka

Slit the cherries, but don’t cut them in half.

Put in a pan with the sugar and 150ml water, then heat, stirring gently, until the juices run and the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from the heat, then spoon into a large bottle or jar.

Add the vodka and mix well. Seal, then leave for 4 weeks before drinking to let the flavours steep. For ice cold vodka, keep the bottle in the freezer (it won’t freeze solid) or simply decant into a carafe, if you like.

Cherry Crumble Pies – makes 12

cherry crumble piesIngredients:

For the pastry and topping:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g ground hazelnuts
  • 140g cold butter, cubed
  • 50g caster sugar

For the filling:

  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam or bramble jelly
  • 500g cherries, stoned
  • 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Tip the flour and hazelnuts into a food processor, then add the butter. Process to fine crumbs, add the sugar, then mix briefly. Remove 3 rounded tbsp of the mixture and put in a separate bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp cold water to the food processor, then pulse to form a firm dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. If the dough is soft, wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.

Roll out the dough and stamp out rounds using a 10-12cm cutter. You should get 12 rounds in total from the dough – you will need to gather and re-roll the trimmings. Use to line 12 x 7-8 cm tartlet tins or the 12 holes of a muffin tin.

Warm the jelly in a pan until it melts a little, then stir in the cherries. Divide between the pastry cases. Stir the chopped hazelnuts and sugar into the reserved pastry mix, then sprinkle over the cherries. Bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry and crumble are lightly browned and the cherries cooked. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tins, then carefully remove – you may need to loosen the edges of the pies with a small, sharp pointed knife, then invert them onto plates and quickly flip the right way up. Serve warm or cold.

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