There are some things that I regard as “Food of the Gods” and cherries are one of them. It is cherry season here in Israel and that means the annual Cherry Picking Festival at Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim is on. Last year, I blogged about the festival and took a visiting colleague from Germany. This year we took Mimi from Israeli Kitchen and her youngest daughter. We brought a picnic, not quite as fancy as last year, but still quite tasty. Mimi brought a delicious cheese, mushroom and swiss chard tart. Mr BT made a tuna salad sandwich on a baguette, and also made a rocket, nectarine and walnut salad. I made a whole wheat pita with a runny chevre from Jacob’s Dairy in Kfar Haroeh in the Hefer Valley, near Netanya. We also had green olives and garlicky cured black olives from Morocco. We definitely didn’t starve.
Of course the most important reason we went was to pick the juicy ruby cherries, and we definitely succeeded in picking enough of them to make a couple of different dishes and still have a few to much on. I decided the first thing to make was frozen yogurt. I used low fat cow yogurt that I drained in a fine mesh sieve until most of the water had drained. You can use the greek-style yogurt they sell in the States. The yogurt tastes like a big bowl of ripe cherries and has a nice creaminess from the yogurt. Next time I am going to use sheep yogurt for a little extra tang. Mr. BT’s face lit up after eating it and he still has a glint of summer in his eyes. He said that it was good enough to have come from a gelateria in Firenze. Now the Baroness has a glint of summer in her eyes.
3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup sheep , goat, or cow yogurt
1 tablespoon cognac
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Place the pitted and cut cherries in a medium size pan with the sugar and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the cherries have softened a little. Don't let them get mushy.
In food processor, with knife blade attached, pulse the hot cherries until the cherries are in small chunks. You can blend them smooth if you wish, but I prefer little chunks of cherry in my frozen yogurt. Place the cherry mixture in a medium size bowl and cool to room temperature.
If the yogurt is not really thick (Greek-style), then put the yogurt in a fine-mesh sieve and drain out as much liquid as possible; set aside.
When the cherries have cooled, add the yogurt, cognac and vanilla and mix until the yogurt is completely incorporated. Refrigerate the yogurt mixture for approximately 2 hours. Transfer the yogurt mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Take the frozen yogurt out of the freezer 15 minutes prior to serving.