Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sour Cherry Coffee Cake

I already miss cherry season ! First, the Mt. Rainier cherries showed up at the markets. So red and yellow with a hint of sour balanced by sweet cherry goodness. I made cobblers and crisps galore!.

Next, came the sour "pie" cherries. Who would have thought sour was good? Oh my. These cherries, found at my local farmer's market and grown in Maryland, are delicious. I bought 2 quarts at a time, but when I realized the season was nearly over, I stocked up with 4 more quarts and froze them whole. I washed and dried them, then placed them on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, I store them in Zip-lock baggies.

Tonight, I thawed about a cup and a half for this recipe by running them under tepid water in a colander for a couple of minutes. I pitted them, and reserved the juices for the recipe. If you can't find sour cherries, use bing cherries instead.
This recipe is easy, quick and most of all, delicious!


1/2 cup pecans-- coarsely chopped
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus 3 tablespoons for coating cherries and nuts
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted with juice
8 tablespoons unsalted butter -- softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°.Toast the chopped walnuts in a baking pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees.Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the cherries and the nuts.In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until it is light and fluffy; add the sugar and honey gradually, beating the mixture until it is very light. Add the eggs, one at a time. With mixer at lowest speed, add the flour mixture (reserving 1/4 cup), alternating it with the orange juice.Toss the cherry-nut mixture with the reserved 3 tablespoons of flour, and add to mixer. Blend into the batter on low speed just until incorporated evenly. Turn the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan (or use non-stick spray), approximately 10 x 7 x 2 inches. Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 45 minutes and check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. It should pull out dry.

Cool the loaf for 15 minutes in the pan; unmold onto a rack to cool down.

This bread is good warm or cold, and goes well with a pat of butter.

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