Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cherry-sh the day *

I never know what to do with cherries. That's the simple truth.

I don't particularly like them in savory dishes, except if it's something like this salad, and I hate them in pies.

Fruit pies are not my thing. Perhaps because it's not a Greek thing and I'm just not used to them but, then again profiteroles are not a Greek thing either and I never complain when I get served up those.

I have always eaten cherries on their own. The ritual being invariably the same; grab one by the stalk, put it in my mouth, pull it gently with my teeth to detach it from the stem, break the small spherical fruit open with a decisive bite, take out the pit and savor its sweet, juicy flesh.

Yet, I've always felt like I've been missing out on something. I have never used them in, well, anything.

Not until last year that is, when I decided to make cherry ice cream. And, it was awful. I don't know if it was the recipe, the cherries or me, but I hated it and so did S.

I wasn't disheartened though and when cherry season finally arrived this year, I couldn't wait to try something different again. I found Greek dark cherries at the market which was a complete surprise and impatient as I always am, I ended up taking more than a kilo home.

I remembered I had bookmarked a cherry sorbet recipe a while back and thought that would be the perfect one to usher in the cherry season with. Let me tell you, it was the Best Cherry Sorbet Ever and when I turned it into a popsicle, it was even more exciting.

The sorbet is not very sweet, has a slight hint of vanilla, is brimming with fresh cherry flavor and is extremely light. I was lucky to have bought the freshest vanilla bean I have ever used and it gave such a beautiful, aromatic dimension to the sorbet that it was unbelievable.

No spoons, no bowls, no trying to find where I put my ice cream scoop only to realize that I had broken it about a month ago while scooping what was supposed to be a milk chocolate ice cream but turned out to be a cement-like concoction.
No, this is pure lickable cherry pleasure.

I must have made this sorbet four times during this brief cherry season, the last one being just a few days ago and we cannot get enough of it.
So, hurry up! Grab the last fresh cherries of the year and make these popsicles.
Satisfaction is guaranteed.

* While I was writing this post I was listening to this song. The title is inspired by it.

Dark Cherry Sorbet Popsicles

There are three easy steps in preparing this sorbet. The first step is to prepare a vanilla-scented syrup, the second to make a cherry purée and the third to mix the two together. Then you just need to pour the mixture into the shot glasses, put them in the freezer and after a few hours, you have a delicious cherry sorbet.

Don't forget that the taste of the sorbet depends largely if not solely on the quality and ripeness of the cherries. The tastier the cherry, the tastier the sorbet.

You can pass the cherry purée through a sieve to take out all the skins but I love the little flecks of dark cherry skin in the sorbet. They add texture to it and they are flavorful too. Plus all the antioxidants of the fruit are concentrated there.

I used vodka shot glasses for the popsicles but feel free to use any other kind of popsicle mold you have. Don't use oversized glasses or molds because the stick will not be able to hold the weight of the sorbet and the popsicle will probably break when you take it out of the mold.

Yield: about 25 popsicles (50-60 ml each)

1 kg fresh, sweet, dark cherries (I used Greek dark cherries)
400 g sugar
170 ml water
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
30 ml (2 Tbsp) lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Special equipment: cherry pitter, food processor, 25 vodka shot glasses (50-60 ml capacity), wooden popsicle sticks

Put the sugar, water and vanilla pod in a small, heavy-bottomed pan (which must be super clean because the sugar may latch on to foreign particles and crystallize) and set it over a low to medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and turn heat up to medium. Don't stir again at all, otherwise the sugar may crystallize. Put on the lid, leaving it ajar, and simmer (not boil) for about 5 minutes (or until a candy thermometer registers 107 degrees Celsius).
Remove pan from the heat and let the syrup cool completely.

Wash the cherries well under cold running water, place them on a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry.
Using a cherry pitter, remove the pits, place the cherries in a food processor and purée them until they are smooth. If you don't have a large food processor use a small one and purée the cherries in batches. Place the cherry purée in a large bowl.

Once the syrup has cooled completely, remove and discard the vanilla pod. Pour the syrup over the puréed cherries and add the lemon juice. Stir well with a rubber spatula to combine and pour into the vodka shot glasses or any other popsicle mold you're using. Put the glasses in the freezer and once the sorbet begins to set, add the wooden sticks and put glasses back in the freezer. Allow the sorbet to set. It will take about 2 hours.
Keep in mind that if you're using larger molds, the sorbet will take more time to set.

Alternatively, you can pour it into an ice cream machine and then in a suitable container and into your freezer, thus making simply a sorbet and not pospicles.

Taking out the popsicles from the shot glasses is a piece of cake as long as the sorbet has set properly inside the glass. Run the sides of the shot glass under running water and holding the wooden popsicle stick with your hand, turn and pull the popsicle out of the glass. You might feel some resistance at first but it will come out.



  1. Me too, I don't like them in savory dishes as well, these ice pops look delish!

  2. I'm never sure how I feel about cherries. I love them on their own, in salads with rocket like you one you linked to and in pie but somehow I don't like cherry ice cream or chocolate cherry cakes people often serve, way too sweet. Every year I see these popsiscles and fall in love with them but never make them because I don't have any moulds but what a great idea to use vodka glasses! I so love the way you've presented them with that stripey cloth.

  3. elle marie — thank you

    Emily Vanessa — the shot glasses make an ideal mold. They're just the perfect size too.
    Thanks! It's not a cloth, it's a tray.

  4. A sorbet served like this is a fun idea! I love making sorbet and this will be my next try.

  5. LOVE your inspiration for the title! So perfect! These look really light and delicious - perfect for my diet! Agree with you and Elle Marie - not so good in savory dishes... But no pies?? You really need to come over the pond and try my pies - I love making them and my absolute favorite is my mother's cherry-blueberry-peach pie. Yum!

  6. I love cherries, and I have been on major popsicle kick this Summer- fate?!

  7. Cherries are one of my favourite fruit-I can eat far too many of them :P So these popsicles look amazingly refreshing, even if it is cold here! :P

  8. Your cherry ice pops look gorgeous. Going to make them when cherry season arrives in Sydney.

  9. Popsicles in wodka shot glasses, this is a brilliant idea! I never tasted a cherry ice cream, and I can't imagine it working either, so maybe the basic idea is flawed: what does work is normal ice cream (vanilla, cream...) swirled with cherry sauce. The sorbet popsicle idea on the other hand is pure genius.

  10. I love cherries in any way, shape, or form, but these look especially delicious! And I love that you made them in shot glasses :)

    My dad once made a cherry ice cream that was SO tart, we couldn't even eat it... We still joke about it :)


  11. Perfect. Life can never have too many popsicles. Cherry daiquiris are a staple for our Sydney Christmas eve feasts- there are always so many around. It's a similar recipe- except with a shedload of Cointreau and white rum.

  12. Your pictures are always so beautiful you make even something as simple as a popsicle look like a work of art. I don't cook much with cherries either. I made your 'beloved' cherry pie for my son's birthday because he loves cherries but the truth is that when I buy a bag of beautiful, plump red cherries I can't help but eat almost hurts to cook or blend them. So I know what you mean. I do however love cherry flavored things like ice cream and popsicles as long as I don't have to 'ruin' the cherries to make them.

  13. I cook with cherries rarely, as Bill doesn't like them, but he might be persuaded by your popsicles--which look spectacular. clever use of the vodka shot glass--the shape is perfect. great post, Magda!

  14. The are remarkable looking popsicles. Bookmarking now. Thanks!

  15. ahh I missed visiting your blog, been a real slacker lately..your pics always make me smile. I also cooked with cherries lately and I was in heaven. I love your pops..loving pops this summer!!

  16. I take your word for it that these are divine! I have just been enjoying cherries au nature this season for lack of my kitchen stuff, so I've kind of been lamenting all the fun projects i've missed this season. Oh well, fall is around the corner now. :)

  17. Good article. Truly entertaining and professionally penned blog post. I will drop by again very soon.

  18. I'm a cherries on their own type of gal, but these popsicles are beautiful enough to change my mind.

  19. I never cook with cherries either, though mainly because I have eaten the whole bowl before I get there...Seeing these reminds me summer isn't TOO far away...I hope you're having a lovely one x

  20. Using the shot glasses is pretty and inventive. I tried making them tonight and even halving the sugar it was way too sweet.

  21. Thank you for the feedback.
    I'm really surprised by that though. Half the sugar and still sweet??
    I never find it too sweet myself but just right.

    Adding some extra lemon juice to counterbalance the sweetness might do the trick.

  22. I love cherries--black cherries are my favorite--and also don't really like cherry pie. I blame growing up with that canned cherry pie filling which is vile when you compare it to fresh cherries. So I'm also one who will just eat them as-is, but this is a great way to use them in a recipe.