If you happened to be at Your Independent Grocer (or “THE YIG“, as my sister likes to call it) in Smiths Falls, Ontario, last Wednesday, at around 2:30 p.m, and you heard a crazy woman let out a gleeful scream, well, that would be me. You see, as I turned the corner, just past the pluots and nectarines, I spied a bin filled with Ranier cherries.
The Rainier cherry is the sweetest, prettiest and most pampered of cherries. Developed in 1953, it is a cross between the Bing and Van varieties. Golden to orange to pale red in colour on the outside, one bite reveals a creamy yellow flesh. They are more delicate and sweeter than Bing cherries. The season for Ranier cherries is extremely short, a few weeks in mid July, and then it’s over.
During cherry season, I eat cherries like it’s my job. During Ranier cherry season, I work overtime! I filled my cart with several bags of Ranier cherries and probably ate at least a pound of them on the drive back to the cottage. I continued to gorge on Ranier cherries for the next several days and pretty soon I was sweating cherry juice. (In my defense, it was quite humid.) It became apparent that I would have to do something with the cherries before the rest spoiled.
Tartelette’s blog came to my rescue! If you haven’t discovered this blog yet, I urge you to go on over for a visit. It is charming and filled with wonderful recipes and gorgeous drool inducing photography. She made little cherry cakes topped with a pistachio crumble. Brimming with fresh cherries and slightly flavoured with lemon zest. this cake is a wonderful way to celebrate cherry season. I made it with my surplus of Ranier cherries, but in hindsight, the flavour of Ranier cherries is so delicate, and the colour so pale, they were lost in the cake. Next time I make it, I will use Bing cherries.
Pitting the cherries is the most time-consuming task in making this cake. if you don’t have a cherry pitter, do it this way:
The crumble and cake come together very quickly. I made a 9 inch square cake, although if you have mini cake pans, it would make an adorable presentation!