What do you do with a bag of cherries?

I found myself facing just this quandary when, after stopping at the market for a gallon of milk, I noticed how gorgeous the produce was – I came home with a carton of raspberries (which I used to make the raspberry buttermilk cake from, you guessed it, Smitten Kitchen [and forgot to photograph to show you]) and this giant bag of cherries:

The first thing I did, faced with that many cherries, was to buy a cherry pitter. Which I promptly didn’t use when I made these Coconut Cherry Petits Gateaux (aka cupcakes) from Tartelette because the cherries had to be halved anyway. They were very yummy and easy to make, too. She topped hers with chopped raw pumpkin seeds, but, of course, the market didn’t have them, so I made a quick glaze from powdered sugar, some leftover coconut milk, and some almond extract and then topped that with slivered almonds. I should have used the coconut extract instead – the almond, despite pairing very well with the cherries, completely overwhelmed any trace of the coconut flavor in the cupcake.

Next up was a cherry clafoutis from Vanilla Garlic via Simply Recipes. I had heard the word clafoutis before, but didn’t really know what to expect. Again, it was super-easy to put together – and I got to use my cherry pitter! Very exciting, but still fairly messy. I replaced the whole milk with coconut milk since I had just the perfect amount left over from the cupcakes. The only problem was that I had neither a 9×9 or 10×7 baking dish, so I went ahead and just used my trusty 8×8 dish instead and baked it (considerably) longer than the recipe called for. Seriously, the recipe says to bake it for 40-50 minutes and I think we were going on 80 when I finally decided it was done. I’m not sure what to make of it nor can I tell you whether or not I did it right. It tastes good to me, but I’ll admit it is a little weird – somewhere between custard and cake. Actually, what it reminds me of most is this dense, eggy apple pancake but with cherries instead. (P.S. – This is what Arthur wanted.)

And up last was Dorie Greenspan‘s Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours. I made a few simple substitutions – I switched my carob powder for the cocoa powder (though I did use real chocolate for the rest) and instead of using dried cherries and soaking them to get them to plump up a bit, I used the last of my fresh ones and basically made a cherry pie filling (there was also no kirsch, because I didn’t have any, or, since I have an electric stove and no lighter, flambeing). Oh, and again I had to use the wrong size pan – a 10-inch springform instead of a 9-inch one. This is a very rich dessert (brownie topped with mascarpone mousse – how could it not be?!) – I just had a pretty small slice of it (chased with a glass of milk – if you can eat this and not long for a glass of milk, you are stronger than I am!) and I feel a little bit uncomfortably full. So slice with caution!

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