Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"FRESH CHERRY CAKE" ON THE MENU TONIGHT

We are in full Summer mode at my house. That means lighter meals and lots of grilling.
Today's dinner is the fresh NJ "catch of the day," Flounder, for my hubby and Coho Salmon for me. This is the time of year when they are both so delicious!

About 10 years ago I started integrating fish into our weekly meals cutting back the red meats and focusing on more healthy fare.  Since then it became a twice a week routine. Places we lived like Texas, Florida and New Jersey have made it quite easy to find fresh fish of all kinds.

In New Jersey we have Jersey Fresh, As Fresh as it Gets! Farms are plentiful where you can "Pick your Own" fresh fruits and veggies. They are available from the beginning of May through the end of October. We even have a Harvest Dates Availability Chart that helps me know when they all are in season. Check your area for a handy chart....kind of takes all of the guess work out of it for you.

The sweet cherries are outstanding this year! We eat them by the handful. They are so delish I just had to make a dessert out of them.

My thoughts turned to Patricia Wells. My favorite cookbook from Patricia is,Vegetable Harvest. She includes everything from appetizers to desserts all using fresh vegetables and fruits. She actually incorporates French cooking into American kitchens and puts veggies first on the menu! I not only love her because of her use of the "fresh" fruits and veggies, but because of her French flair in the manner in which she has created her recipes.

Today in honor of our NJ delicious sweet cherries I have made Patricia's Pistachio-Cherry Cake. Patricia has her own trees in Provence but they only produce cherries for 3 weeks in May. Lucky me, ours are fresh right now!

                                                     Pistachio-Cherry Cake
                                           Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells

• 1 teaspoon almond oil for pan 
• 4 large eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 6 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 teaspoon kirsch or cherry eau-de-vie
• 3/4 cup roasted, salted pistachio nuts,(from 4 oz. pistachios in their shells), coarsely ground
• 1 pound (4 cups) fresh sweet cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted (or raspberries or quartered, pitted

apricots)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2.  Brush a 9 1/2-inch springform pan with almond oil.  Set aside. 
3.  Prepare the batter:  In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the egg yolks and 6 tablespoons of the sugar and beat at the highest speed until thick and pale, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup flour, vanilla extract, almond extract, kirsch, and the pistachios and stir with a wooden spoon to blend.  Set aside.
4.  Rinse and dry the whisk. Place the egg white in the second bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk at low speed until the whites are frothy.Gradually increase the speed to high.  Slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, whisking at high speed until stiff but not dry.  
5.  Whisk a third of the egg white mixture into the batter and stir until the two are thoroughly combined; then, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.  Do this slowly and patiently.  Do not overmix, but be sure that the mixture is well blended and that no white streaks remain.
6.  Spoon two-thirds of the combined mixture into the prepared pan.  Carefully place the cherries on top.  Cover with the remaining third of batter.  Place in the center of the oven and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. My oven took less time, so you may want to adjust this time for your oven.
7.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.  After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the pan.  Release and remove the side of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the pan base. 




***Note: Your cake will rise a bit more than mine....I realized that I shorted my recipe the 1/4 cup of flour in Step #3 when it was too late...sorry! Yours will have much more cake substance than mine does. Although, with all of the cherries it was still delicious!!



If you like you may serve this with Cherry Sorbet but it was delightful without!

Maybe it's time for you to get to the market and pick up something fresh and delicious for dinner. It's always fun to try something new from our "fresh as it gets" list....your family will love you for it!

Have a wonderfully "fresh" Wednesday!

Kathleen

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