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.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
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
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?