A few years ago, I posted a recipe for Deni Hooper’s Magnificent Montmorency Red Tart Cherry Pie. This is sort of the traditional cherry pie using red tart cherries that most of us probably grew up with.
After I shared that recipe again on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, a few people asked if I had any recipes using sweet cherries. Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I went back to Deni’s “The Magic Cherry,” a sweet little book with all sorts of cherry recipes, including some that involve flames and require accomplices.
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Best of all, the book is completely handwritten in Deni’s beautiful handwriting, with little bits of cherry info like this, written on the first page:
to the cherry
one fantastic sphere
instantly transforms all he is near
glowingly gorgeous, delightfully delicious
but very best of all
is even good
Below are some of the sweet cherry recipes from Deni’s book. I’ve written out the Cherry Chutney recipe, because when I posted the recipes on Facebook a couple weeks ago, my longtime high school friend, Bernie (Joppich) Bowker, made that recipe using cherries picked at the Lyon’s farm.
I’ve included photos of all the sweet cherry recipes below, which you should be able to right-click and “save image as” to your computer. But before we get to the recipes…
Mary Johnson, Pat Weede and Cherry Bounce
My mom, Mary Johnson, made Cherry Bounce once, which is hilarious because I can count on one hand the number of times I ever saw Mom and Dad drink anything alcoholic, and it was usually when my Aunt Jane (her sister) and Uncle John were here from Virginia. They enjoyed a good cocktail.
Anyway, I remember Mom assembling all the ingredients for Cherry Bounce into a large jar and stashing it under the sink for a couple months. I don’t recall anyone ever being brave enough to sample it. It could still be there, for all I know.
That same year (sometime in the 1970s), Pat Weede was working on our shaker crew, hauling cherries from the orchard to the cooling pad, which I was running at the time. Pat, whose family had a cottage on Bluff Road, decided to make his own Cherry Bounce, using one of the big cherry tanks on the pad. The rest of the story is a little hazy, but I do remember him throwing cherries into that tank with a bunch of vodka and keeping it covered during cherry season, which at the time ran about eight weeks.
Again, I do not recall anyone being brave enough to sample Pat’s Cherry Bounce, and it likely got dumped over the hill from the cooling pad, which at the time was located catacorner from our main barn north of Mapleton. Pat passed away from cancer many years ago, and I will always have fond memories of working with him on the farm. Such a good guy.
We always had a party at the end of cherry season, and that year, we all gathered on the beach at one of the turn-outs on Center Road before you get to the Lighthouse. That was when you could have a fire on the beach.
I can still hear Pat clear as a bell, challenging me to swim out to little Gull Island off the shore there as the sun was setting over West Bay. HE could have done that easily, being a person of amazing health and well-being. I however, declined, noting that he would likely have to haul me back to shore before I got even half-way out there.
If you try any of these recipes, report back in the comments section below, and let us know how it goes. (I would love for someone to try the Black Sweet Cherry Pie!)
Deni Hooper’s Cherry Chutney
Unusual – good with duck, goose, chicken or squash.
3 c. red tart cherries, pitted
3 c. dark sweet cherries, pitted
2 1/2 c. cider vinegar
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. coarsely chopped pared fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed dried chilip pepper, seeds removed
1/2 bay leaf
2 1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. golden raisins
3/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
Combine all in heavy pan and simmer until thick, about 3 hours. Pack in hot jars. (See Bernie’s photo at the top of this story for the end result.)