Monday, July 12, 2010

Not-Nearly-Drunk-Enough Cherries

Our landlord caught us outside on the way to Cheeseball's kindergarten the other morning and gifted us a great big basket of cherries. Cheeseball and I love cherries. But, we weren't going to work our way through four or five pounds of them by ourselves before they weren't quite so pretty and red and juicy anymore!

I (and El Niño) pitted a stack of them and stuck them in the freezer for future smoothies. Uh, made with our future blender. And I hopped online for a cherry recipe. It's way too hot to bake a pie, or turn the oven on for any reason, really. Cherries in the Snow from Epicurious fulfilled the NO bake proviso and it just sounded so cool and refreshing. And it was! Whisking the milk mixture made the top of the gelatin all frothy and it does look just like fresh, powder snow. Very cool.

I used skim milk, fresh rather than dried cherries and cherry juice rather than port. For the kids' sake. The kids who didn't eat the dessert. Next time, I'll use a smaller dish than recommended to make the gelatin stand a little taller. And I will liberally apply the good stuff. And then the kids will eat it and go staggering around the neighborhood and get me in trouble with the polizei. The polizei who probably wouldn't have a problem with me pouring warm beers for the kids, but won't likely have such a kindly tolerant attitude about that weird foreigner port stuff.

cherries in the snow

For almond snow gelatin:

Vegetable oil for greasing baking dish
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup 1% or skim milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For cherries in Port:

1/3 cup dried cherries (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup Ruby Port


Make almond snow gelatin:
Lightly oil an 8-inch square glass baking dish with vegetable oil, wiping out any excess with a paper towel.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a large heatproof bowl to soften 1 minute.

Bring milk and sugar to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat and whisk into gelatin mixture. Add almond extract and whisk briskly until milk is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Pour into baking dish and freeze 15 minutes (to set foam), then chill, uncovered, in refrigerator until firm, at least 45 minutes.

Make cherries in Port:

Simmer cherries, sugar, and Port in cleaned 1-quart heavy saucepan, uncovered, until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Set pan in a bowl of ice and cold water and chill in refrigerator until syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Assemble desserts:
Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut gelatin into 1-inch squares. Remove squares from dish with a spatula and divide, frothy sides up, among 6 chilled plates. Spoon cherries in Port over squares.

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