IMG_20150524_161015769_HDR

Ah, cherry season! In my opinion, this is really the best time of the year. Stone fruits are coming in fast, berries are getting better and better, and if you squint you can juststart to see the end of the long wait before tomato season.

I have a really hard time pacing myself at the farmer’s market and the fruit stands this time of year, which makes today’s recipe kind of perfect if you’re a little like me. This cherry tortina is a simple, small* cake with not too many bells and whistles. The cherries are tossed in a little sugar and arranged on the top of the batter just prior to baking. In the oven, the cherries sink down as the cake rises up, resulting in a lightly crisp top, and a subtle, buttery vehicle to enjoy my favorite fruit of the year.

Cherry Tortina
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1 to 1 1/2 c. fresh cherries, pitted
3 Tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 6″ cake pan and coat the side with granulated sugar.

Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, then add the milk, extract, and lemon zest.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the butter mixture. Paddle it on low speed until just combined.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but moist peaks form. Add one third of the whites to the batter and fold gently (I use a wide rubber spatula from here on). Add the remaining egg whites and fold until just combined.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and smooth out the top. Toss the cherries in the remaining sugar and arrange them in an even layer atop the batter.
IMG_20150525_212428
Bake on the middle rack of the oven until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.
Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

IMG_20150524_161930331_HDR

*This is a great size for a picnic or after a big meal, but if small isn’t what you’re after, this cake can easily be doubled and baked in a 9″ cake pan. Allow 40-45 minutes to bake.

IMG_20150517_144954

Okay, this really is the most wonderful time of the year. Cherry season is just kicking in, and if you live in my neighborhood, the u-pick farms are opening up their gates. My greed for fresh-picked, bouncy and delicious fresh cherries may be categorized as supernatural. I managed to pick about seven pounds of cherries yesterday, and in making today’s cobbler, caught myself lamenting over not having picked ten.

Anyhoo, National Cherry Cobbler Day, folks! Woo!

Cobbler Dough
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. almond flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of finely grated lemon zest
1/4 c. cold, unsalted butter
1/2 c. cream

Cherry cobbler filling
7-8 c. fresh cherries
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. tapioca starch
Juice from half a lemon
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

Topping
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 Tbsp. sugar

Cobbler Dough

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first six ingredients. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse until the mixture takes on the appearance of coarse cornmeal.
Slowly add the cream while continuing to pulse. You may not need to add all of the cream. Add only enough to form a slightly damp dough. Wrap tightly in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Cherry filling

Wash and pit the cherries. In a medium bowl, toss the cherries with the sugar, tapioca starch, zest, and juice.

Assembly

Preheat the oven to 375F. Pour the filling into a deep 9″ baking dish. Remove the cobbler dough from the fridge, and arrange the dough in small, walnut-sized pieces evenly atop the cherries. Sprinkle the almond pieces and sugar on top of the dough.

Bake the cobbler for 22-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before eating.

IMG_20150517_142934572_HDR

IMG_20150509_134731006_HDR

Well I don’t know what happened, but it is Sunday (Mother’s Day!) and I am just now finishing up what should have been a quick little post for Saturday.

Anyhoo, food holidays like National Butterscotch Brownie Day just make me want to yell “Woot!” and do a little dance. I can’t help myself, because brownies. Add butterscotch and my toes just may curl.

The thing that irks me though is those freaking butterscotch chips. I don’t like them. At. All. They are so, so sweet, with an undertone of something that tastes like science. Butterscotch, the real stuff, has way fewer ingredients, is really fast to make, and the flavor is sublime- rich, buttery, a shade boozy, and yep, still sweet.

Real Deal Salted Butterscotch

6 Tbsp butter
1 c. light brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. Scotch whisky
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until evenly coated. Increase the heat to medium high and allow to boil gently, stirring often. Once the mixture begins to darken slightly, reduce the heat to low. Stir in the salt, followed by the whisky. Simmer for a minute or so, until the mixture smooths out. Remove from the heat and pour in the cream. Stir thoroughly to combine.

This butterscotch will thicken as it cools. For a thinner, more saucy butterscotch, add an additional Tbsp. each of Scotch and cream.

IMG_20150509_224005

IMG_20150502_161507493_HDR
IMG_20150503_153204882
So, there are no food holidays for fava beans, which I find a little silly. If you really want to celebrate crown roast of pork, there is a day for that. Really, really dig escargot? THere is a food holiday just for you (it’s coming up, by the way, so plan accordingly).

BUT. Fava beans are getting no love.

Until today.

Within the borders of my humble home, today is National Fava Bean Day. Outside, not so much. Which is to say, I am totally making up a food holiday because this is a great food that needs a little recognition. Favas taste amazing, pair easily with tons of foods, and are nutritional powerhouses. You could say “Like a fava” instead of “Like a boss” (we still say that, right?) and it would still make perfect sense.

My absolute favorite way to eat favas is to give them the pesto treatment and spread them heavily on toasted slices crusty bread.

Avocado toast, your days are numbered.

Fava Bean Puree

2 c. fresh fava beans, shelled.
2 garlic cloves
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. In batches, blanch the beans until you hear the skins begin to pop. Quickly remove the beans from the water and place them in a bowl of ice water to “shock” them. This prevents them from overcooking and turning grey and mushy. Repeat this step until all of the beans are blanched.
Drain the chilled beans and remove the skins. Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor with the the garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and parsley. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until a smooth paste is formed.
Store for up to five days in the fridge. Eat it on everything.