Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cherry Season

When I used to live in Toronto – my residence was about a 15 minute walk away from the Chinatown market. I used to spend countless hours wandering the streets, visiting my favourite vendors, eating at cramped restaurants and perusing the goods that lined the streets. My two favourite fruit vendors were on the North-West corner of Dundas and Spadina. Conveniently – they were right next to each other, and they would ‘compete’ with each other for the best prices and the most boisterious calls to prospective customers. “Buy, buy, buy!” they would yell proudly, “two for $5! Very ripe! Very sweet!” There were many a time when I was lured over to touch and fondle the fruits on sale. Naturally, there were seasons when certain fruits would be on sale : oranges, apples, strawberries, pineapples – you name it – they had it on special at one time or another. But three particular fruits were always on my ‘watch list’ – lychees, mangoes (the ‘good’ mangoes from the Philipines), and cherries. I would visit the fruit stalls often and look for the signs – I would also lean towards the window while sailing by on the streetcar – always waiting and hoping for one of those three fruits to be on special.

Currently – we are in the busy cherry seasons. The fruits of my labour? Pounds and pounds of pitted and frozen cherries in the freezer, white chocolate-cherry-almond ice cream, Black Forest cake AND Black Forest trifle – and now – cherry coffee cake!

This was a delicious recipe that I found via the tastespotting site – it was moist, dense, and dare I say, better the day after? I changed it up a bit and added a top layer for that added crunch.

So take advantage of the cherry season while it’s still here! And still cheap!

Did I ever tell you about the time I bought 8 kiwis for $1?

Cherry Coffee Cake

(c/o Series of Kitchen Experiments)

1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375F, prepare an 8" square cake pan.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla.

Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add half to wet ingredients, then milk, then rest of dry ingredients.

Carefully fold in cherries.

Bake for 45-60 minutes.

*optional: I added a streusel-y type of topping for an added crunch (1 tb cold butter + 1 1/2 tb flour + 1 1/2 tb sugar, mashed up and sprinkled on top)

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