The other day, I was driving to my favorite consignment shop when I spotted a small hand-painted sign that read freshly picked cherries. I was thrilled. We get a lot of fresh summer fruit in New England - strawberries, nectarines, blackberries- but rarely fresh local cherries. Needless to say, I slammed on my brakes and reversed direction.
The farm stand was adorable; wooden and quaint filled with bins bursting with local vegetables. On the counter sat five (only five) small blue crates of ripe cherries. Are they sweet or sour? I asked the pint sized woman behind the counter. Go ahead and try one, she said. They were perfect. Juicy and sweet withe the slightest hint of acidity. I headed home with 3 boxes.
I just finished making Chocolate Cherry Gateau with Coco Creme Fraiche and I had to share the recipe with you. It's now one of my favorite cakes of all time. Simple. Rich. Chocolate. Delicious. It's the kind of cake that's very satisfying. Perfect on a summer day with iced coffee or tea.
I love the combination of chocolate and cherry together but it's so rare to find a chocolate cherry cake that taste good. After tinkering in the kitchen, I can safely say that this cake gives you the deep dark chocolate flavor you're looking for with just the right amount of cherry flavor. Exceptional.
Chocolate Cherry Gateau
100 g chopped dark chocolate
100 g chopped butter
2 tbs plus 1 tsp Kirsch
2 tbs cherry extract
110 g powdered sugar
80 g almond flour
1/4 cup valrohna cocoa powder
3 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 8" tart pan with cocoa powder.
Melt butter and chocolate together.
Add the powdered sugar, almond powder, cherry extract. Mix in egg yolks. Beat until blended.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold gently into the chocolate mixture.
Bake 30-40 minutes until cake springs back at touch of your finger.
Coco Creme Fraiche
45 g creme fresh
40 g cocoa powder
40 g melted dark chocolate
1 tbs Kirsch
1 tsp cherry extract
Whip ingredients together until light and fluffy. Place a dime nickel size amount onto center of cake slice. Garnish with a fresh cherry and powdered sugar.
And thanks for all of your responses to last weeks question: If you could invite any famous person to dinner, who would it be? You chose fascinating dinner companions:
Hugh Laurie, Rohinton Mistry, Hubert Keller, Steffi Graf, P.G Wodehouse, Enid Blyton, Indira Gandhi, Mozart, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Child, Jack Kerouac, J.D. Salinger, Henry David Thoreau, Neil Young, Robyn Hitchcock, Clarissa Dickson Wright (from the Two Fat Ladies), Ray Davies, Andrew Zimmerman, Anne Lamott, Don Miller, JK Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert, Helen Mirren, Winston Churchill, Head of the Resistance in Denmark during WW2, JRR Tolkien, John Buchan, CS Lewis, Maya Angelou, Mother Theresa, Oprah, President Obama, Meryl Streep, John Kennedy Jr, Madeleine Albright
Last year I did get to meet one of your invited guests, Madeleine Albright and she is an excellent choice - smart, insightful and funny.
You also wanted to invite: Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Wolfgang Mozart, Monet, Coco Chanel, Cleopatra, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Eva Peron, Gloria Steinham, Michelle Obama, Steve Jobs, Dalai Lama, Robert Parker, Aung San Suu Kyi, Jesus, Albert Einstein, Buddha, Socrates, Tocqueville, Rania Al Abdullah, Bono, Maria Owings Shriver, Marcella Hazan, Gérard Depardieu, Antoni Gaudí, Sigmund Freud, Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare, Pierre Herme, Alexander Skarsgard, Martha Stewart, Charlaine Harris, Julia Child, Princess Diana, Princess Grace...
Several of you emailed me to ask who I would invite? I would like to add: Robert F. Kennedy, Yousef Karsh, Leonardi DaVinci, Queen Elizabeth I, Thomas Jefferson, Leo Tolstoy, Sidney Poitier, Elizabeth Warren, Alan Alda, Benjamin Zander, and Howard Zinn.
Now that's a dinner party requiring a really long table and a good camera. My only request ... please don't seat me next to Sigmund Freud.