Monday, August 16, 2010

The Pits

Is there anything that you have done in the past, learned the hard way that you shouldn't have done it that way, but STILL do it again? No? None of you are slow learners like me? Really? Be thankful that you have the brains that God gave a goose, because some of us aren't that lucky. It's the pits.

Example: I have a wonderful cherry/olive pitter from Pampered Chef (which after just looking on their website doesn't seem to be available any longer...sorry). The only tiny complaint I have about this amazing, little gadget (and I am not a gadget person, as a rule) is that it doesn't have a spatter shield. As the rod pushes through the cherry stem and pops the pit out the bottom of the fruit, juices spatter everywhere. I am left with what could be the crime scene of a million bludgeoned mosquitoes. Red, blood-like droplets cover every surface within spitting distance.

The first time that I pitted cherries, I was wearing a white shirt and had a stack of freshly washed dishes in the sink beside me. It was awesome to have everything covered in sticky, sweet, bright red spatters of cherry juice. Not. *eyeroll* You would think that I would have learned from that mistake, but unfortunately, I have a very hard head. I am left with the remains of a crime scene pretty much every time I pit cherries, and today was no exception. I wanted to make Cherry Studded Brownies and a Fresh Cherry Sauce to serve with them. And, wouldn't you know it...while I put on an old apron to protect the ancient t-shirt that I usually just wear as pajamas, I didn't think twice about everything on the counter around me. Splat. Splatter. Splosh. Slap! Yes, someone should have slapped me over the mess I made. I am the pits.

But, I think the mess was well worth it when this evening my dinner guests and I dug into ramekins of rich, chocolaty brownie studded with sweet cherries. Scoops of vanilla ice cream melted under the warmth of the candied, fragrant drizzle of fresh cherry sauce. Mmmmm. It is not the pits to have Cherry Studded Brownies with Fresh Cherry Sauce On My Plate.

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
30 sweet cherries, pitted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Spray 6 dessert dishes or ramekins with non stick cooking spray and set them aside on a large baking sheet.
Melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. (Can use a double boiler, microwave, or as I do, just a really heavy cast iron sauce pan on very low heat.)
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. 
Stir in the cocoa powder. 
Add the melted chocolate mixture.
By hand, stir in the flour and salt until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared dishes, filling 3/4 full. 
Arrange 5 cherries in the top of each baking dish.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops are shiny and a toothpick inserted into the middle doesn't not show wet batter...some moist cake crumbs may cling to the pick.
Cool on rack for 20 minutes. (Serves 6)

1/2 lb fresh cherries, washed & pitted
2 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons orange extract

Combine cherries, water, and sugar in saucepan.
Simmer for about 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Skim occasionally.
Stir in orange extract.
Serve drizzled over ice cream or other desserts.

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