July is Jumbo Cherry Month!

July is Jumbo Cherry Month!

Four ordinary ingredients are transformed into the perfect summer dessert

Four ordinary ingredients are transformed into the perfect summer dessert

This year’s crop of Washington cherries are turning out to be one of the best and July is officially Jumbo Cherry Month!  The 2014 cherries are larger, juicier and more plentiful due to weather patterns and growing techniques.  Fruit sweetness is scored on a scale called the Brix scale, which measures the amount of sucrose in the fruit liquid.  In an average year, cherries score around a 10, but this year we are seeing Washington cherries scored at a 14 and higher!  Moral of the story?  Pick of a bag of cherries and start enjoying this beacon of summer.

cherries 1

Macerated Frangelic Cherries

Foodie note:  “Macerated” is a sexy word for “smashed”.  Use a pastry cutter to mash pitted cherries, encouraging the fruit to release its juice.  Use a cherry pitter or a sharp knife to remove the cherry pit.

Frangelic Macerated cherries: foodie with a life

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3-dozen cherries, Bing or Rainier

3 tablespoons Frangelico or other sweet liquor

1 tablespoon cherry jam, such as Bonne Maman

2 cups vanilla gelato

Macerated cherries with Frangelico and cherry jam

Macerated cherries with Frangelico and cherry jam

Directions:

1)    Pit cherries – option one: use a sharp knife to slice all the way around the pit, then with your fingers rotate the sides in opposite directions to release one half.  Use a finger to scoop out the pit from the second half.  Second option: use a cherry pitter.

2)     Put pitted cherries in a medium bowl, add Frangelico and jam.  Use the pastry cutter to macerate cherries and incorporate the jam and liquor.  Spoon liquid over fruit and set aside to marinate about 30 minutes.  (This can be done up to 2 hours before serving.)

3)    Portion vanilla gelato into 4 serving bowls, spooning the cherry mixture and juice over it.  Serve immediately.

cherries gelato