Thursday, 21 July 2011

Life is just a bowl of cherries


I’ve had a request from a Grandma Abson fan in France about how to cope with gluts of cherries, which are growing in abundance in his garden in southern France. Much of Grandma Abson’s baking depended on using fresh produce, often grown in the garden, so her recipes make good use of gluts of fruit and vegetables in season.

There are recipes for jams, jellies, chutneys, pickles and puddings in Grandma Abson's Traditional Baking book. You can make sauces and desserts or serve a simple bowl of soft fruit  alongside Grandma’s cakes such as blueberries with Almond Cake or raspberries with Victoria Sandwich.

Over the years, my French friends have given me some wonderful dessert recipes, including one of my favourite one which can be made with cherries.

Tarte aux cerises
Line a tin or flan dish with shortcrust pastry. Prick the bottom with a fork. Stone the cherries. Cover the pastry with a layer of cherries. Bake in a fairly hot oven (200C, Mark 6, 400F) for about 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes of cooking time, pour an egg and milk custard mixture (1 egg to ½ cup of milk) over the cherries and bake until set. Allow to cool and pour over a couple of warmed tablespoonfuls of red currant jelly to make a glaze.

When I lived in France in the 1970s as a student, I  bought a jar of ‘cerises a l’eau de vie’ (cherries in brandy)  for Grandma. She loved spooning the cherries and brandy into a little glass to have as a digestif at the end of a meal or on the top of vanilla ice cream. It became one of her favourite treats when she was in her eighties!
 Cerises à l’eau de vie
Fill a clean preserving jar with firm cherries with half the stalks still attached. Cover with sugared brandy (½ cup of sugar to 5 cups of liquid). Seal and leave for 6 months. A votre santé! 





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