Take it from the top: Skye Gyngell's cherry recipes

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Nothing tastes of summer like a bowl of fresh cherries. But, says Skye Gyngell, their sharp-sweet flavour deserves to be more than just a clichéd finishing touch

In terms of nostalgia, cherries are it for me – I have abiding memories of sitting in our garden in Australia, eating huge boxes of them with my brother and sister until we felt like bursting. At home they straddle the Christmas season; we were invariably on our school holidays and just coming back from the beach. To me, they mean big blue skies and lazy summer days. I like to leave the stones in for all these recipes except the granita – just remember to tell your guests to look out for them!

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Brandied cherries

Makes 1kg/2lb
1kg/2lb ripe, sweet cherries
400ml/14fl oz good-quality brandy, such as an aged apple brandy
125g/4oz caster sugar
120ml/4fl oz water

Remove the stems, wash the cherries, and lay them out to dry on a clean cloth.

Pour the brandy into a small saucepan and add the sugar and water. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and warm the liquor.

Pack the cherries loosely into a large, sterilised jar. Pour the brandy over the cherries, making sure the fruit is totally submerged in the alcohol. Seal and store in a cool dark place for a week to allow the flavours to develop, then store in the fridge. To serve, gently warm in a pan then spoon over vanilla ice-cream.

Clafoutis

Clafoutis is a French tart made with a simple batter. The cherries should be cooked just until they burst, so that the batter becomes soaked in an irresistible and not-too-sweet juice.

Serves 6

40g/1 oz unsalted butter
600g/21oz sweet cherries, washed and stems removed
100g/3 oz caster sugar
tsp ground cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 whole eggs, separated
3 tbsp caster sugar
75g/3oz plain flour
75g/3oz ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml/3 fl oz double cream
Pinch of sea salt

Wash and pat dry the cherries, then remove the stems. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When it is foaming (but not browned), add the cherries, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest. Cook gently for 10 minutes or until the cherries are soft, stirring gently from time to time. The juices should have reduced and thickened slightly. Remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, spoon two-thirds of the fruit over the bottom of a shallow, 23cm round baking tin; reserve the rest of the cherries in the juice for serving.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Beat the egg yolks and three tablespoons of sugar in a large bowl k until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour, ground almonds, vanilla extract and cream. In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Now carefully fold the whisked whites into the batter until they are evenly incorporated, then pour the mixture over the cherries. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes until the batter is puffed and golden-brown.

Let the clafoutis cool slightly for 5 minutes or so before serving, top with the reserved cherries and juice.

Cherry granita

When summer arrives and the fruit is sweet, a granita is a better showcase than a sorbet – the sugar content needed is lower, so the fruit tastes more of itself.

Serves 6 -8

1 kg/3lb ripe, sweet cherries
400g/13oz caster sugar
250ml/8fl oz water
Small pinch of sea salt
Squeeze of lemon juice

Wash the cherries and pat them dry, then remove the stems and stones. Tip the fruit into a food processor and purée until smooth. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.

Place sugar and water in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat slightly and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the syrup has become slightly viscous. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

When cold, pour the syrup over the puréed cherries. Add the salt, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice and stir well to combine. Pour into a shallow freeze-proof tray – the purée should be no more than 3cm thick. Cover and place in the freezer for an hour or so.

When the granita begins to set and has firmed up around the edges, remove from the freezer and use a fork to drag the frozen crystals from the edges towards the centre. Don't beat the mixture – a granita is meant to be icy and crunchy, not smooth like a sorbet.

Return to the freezer for a further 30 minutes or so, then repeat the procedure. Now freeze until set. Store in a covered plastic container in the freezer until ready to use. To serve, scrape shavings from the granita and pile into chilled glasses.

Pickled cherries with ricotta and bresaola

The contrast of sharp, sweet cherries and smoky, delicate bresaola (air-dried, salted beef) is very pleasant: the gentle creaminess of the ricotta is needed here to link the flavours together.

Makes two 500ml/17 fl oz jars
700g/25oz sugar
800ml/28fl oz good-quality red-wine vinegar
12 cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1kg/2lb ripe cherries

Discard any blemished fruit. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar over a low heat in a large saucepan then add the cloves and the peppercorns. Turn up the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Pack the cherries loosely into two sterilised jars and pour the pickling liquid over. Seal tightly and let sit for a week before using.

To serve, allow three fine slices of bresaola per person, and add a generous tablespoon of ricotta, some watercress and 3-4 cherries alongside.

Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam