Technically, it’s still winter, but more and more are the days starting to feel spring-like. This is the time of year I lose my winter penchant for hot drinks and hardy desserts and start to crave something lighter, like the fresh cherries I put up late last summer. It’s the perfect time to whip up a Cherry Eton Mess, a delicious, light, airy dessert reminiscent of the taste of summer. Cherry Mess is made by creating alternating layers of cherry compote, freshly whipped cream mixed with chunks of homemade meringue, and toasted sliced almonds. Prepare to swoon: one spoon of this beautiful mess is transcendent.
My homemade marzipan balls with orange blossom water and candied orange peel, dipped in white chocolate and garnished with chopped pistachios.
Seize the moment.
Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.
Chocolate-Covered Marzipan Balls
Chocolate and marzipan pair beautifully together. And nothing could be easier than rolling marzipan balls and dipping them into the chocolate of your choice. Make some of these, throw a few into a festive bag along with some Homemade Chocolate Truffles (see my previous post) and you’ve got a great gift.
Cherry season is nearly at an end. But just before the cherries completely disappear from the markets, I like to put some up so that we can enjoy a bit of the summer sunshine embodied in those sweet fleshy red orbs come winter.
My favourite way to preserve cherries is to either candy them or make a cherry compote. Candied cherries have a higher sugar content and have a more concentrated, candied flavour, whereas cherry compote uses less sugar and has more of a fresh fruit flavour. Both are delicious, both are super easy to make (see my post on Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream for candied cherries), and both freeze incredibly well. If you love cherries, I recommend checking this recipe out and putting up some cherries—it’s such a treat to have in the middle of a cold winter.
Since everyone who tastes my cherry compote wants the recipe, I thought I’d post it. If you love cherries and still have some available where you live, do try making this—you’ll be glad you did. If you’ve already missed the fresh cherries for this season, you can make this compote any time of the year using frozen whole cherries from the supermarket.
Ah…. summertime. I love it! And this summer has been an unusually gorgeous one, exactly my idea of a perfect summer: an endless string of warm, blue sky days accentuated by a few hot days and the occasional dramatic thunderstorm here and there (bringing us much needed moisture and some spectacular lightning shows). We don’t have much in the way of humidity here in Calgary, so the dry heat is very pleasant.
For me, a perfect treat on these wonderfully languid, hot August days is my summer berry fruit salad made of freshly picked seasonal berries. For weeks now, countless flats of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and blueberries have been flying out of the farmers markets and finding their way into kitchens all over Calgary.
Ah… it’s summer! The skies have been sunny and blue, blue, blue for-seemingly-ever, and the weather is perfectly and deliciously hot—like it should be in the summer; like you want to find some shade and sip on a cool drink; like you want to purposely walk right through that spray of sprinkler water arching across the sidewalk; like summer is finally here!
Feasting on Fresh B.C. Cherries
It’s hot, but not blistering hot; it’s a perfect kind of hot—just on the edge of being too hot—but not. The kind of hot that’s perfect for enjoying all the fresh cherries pouring in from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Western Canada’s fruit-growing region (happily only seven hours west of Calgary, so we have a direct supply line).
Thousands of pounds of plump, sweet, fresh cherries arrive daily at our farmers markets and we are buying huge bags of them. My favourite way to enjoy cherries is simply as they are: cool, refreshing fleshy orbs filled with sweet cherry goodness.