Guest Post by Jennifer Schell for The Canadian Food Experience Project
Jennifer is on holidays this month and has sent me this article to post on her behalf. Thrilled to have this level of commitment for The Canadian Food Experience Project! The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. Jennifer’s first post is here. Participants share collective stories through regional food experiences to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.
I was motivated by Jennifer’s recipe as all the ladies in the neighbourhood where I grew up used to make one like this, and instead of the walnuts, they would add coconut. Fresh cherries were definitely not used, either, so I had to give this recipe a go!
The Okanagan cherries only hit the prairies for a couple of short each year and they are such a treat: the blacker, the firmer, the sweeter, the better. That was when all we got were the Bings. They are still my favourite, but I haven’t done a tasting, so I have much to learn about sweet cherries.
I made the square in a spring form pan, and the slice above is enough for three. It is very rich and the cherries developed a nutty almond flavour when baked that is irresistible. The golden syrupy filling with the crunchy crust is addictive.
Forgive me, while I savor the moment. Please enjoy Jen’s article, below, her recipe and he lovely children wearing my favourite earrings of cherry season! Oh-la-la!
July 2013 A Regional Canadian Food: Okanagan Valley Cherries
It is cherry season now in the sunny Okanagan Valley! As always, it is best to buy direct from a farm or Farmer’s Market. One of the great gifts of living in such a bountiful region is being able to shake the hand of the farmer that grew your food. Do take time and do that, whenever possible.
As I watched my nieces dive into a bag of fresh cherries, red juice dripping down on their t-shirts and on their cheeks, I was immediately taken back to my childhood. The unbridled pleasure of popping as many cherries as possible into your mouth in a row seems to be a sort of instinctual frenzy with the arrival of this magical fruit. As soon as the first cherries were ready (or in fact, still a little green) my brothers and I would each climb a tree (Vans were my favorite variety), claim a branch, perch, and rhythmically, like well-oiled machines, eat and spit pits until we were close to bursting. Like magic, the resulting stomachache every year would be forgotten when the next season arrived – and we would begin our annual custom all over again. Oh, and cherries make great earrings too.
This is a favorite cherry recipe passed down through the generations of tree fruit farmers in my family. After your initial pig out on fresh cherries, try this delightful dessert.
Fresh Cherry Slice
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp . baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups fresh local cherries , pitted and quartered
- 1/2 tsp . vanilla
- 1/4 tsp . salt
- 1 cup local walnuts , chopped
Instructions for the Crust:
Cut 1/2 cup butter into 1 cup flour mixed with 2 tbsp icing sugar
Press into 9x9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes
Instructions for the Filling:
Combine eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder
Add cherries, vanilla, salt, walnuts
Spread mixture atop crust; bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
To double recipe use 9x13 pan
Jen, we are still enjoying our seasonal pig-out of these sweet, lush, Okanagan Cherries. Mmmmm! And, I did make your recipe. Here’s how. Would love to hear how I did!
So there you go. Make this recipe in a square pan, not a round one. One bite of Fresh Cherry Slice, and then a few fresh cherries; One bite of Fresh Cherry Slice, and then a few fresh cherries…