Up until last week, the closest I had ever gotten to a cherry orchard was reading Anton Chekhov's masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard. And if you're familiar with that play, you know it doesn't end happily for the family or the cherry trees.
Thankfully, life is much happier in the state of Washington, especially the Leavenworth region, where scores of cherry orchards heavy with fruit line the highways. A fully fruited cherry tree is gorgeous — the clusters of cherries are dramatically suspended from branches, like firework starbursts.
Despite having eaten over three pounds of cherries in three days while we were in Washington, we're still craving them. So last night I made Smashed Cherries, Amaretti and Ricotta, a delightful, no-cook summer dessert from Cheryl Sterman-Rule's new cookbook, Ripe: A Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables. I had tested this recipe for Cheryl last year and have made it numerous times since. No doubt, you will too.
If you'd like to learn more about Cheryl's book, then please see my full review at One For The Table, which also includes a tasty recipe for Radish and Olive Crostini.
Smashed Cherries, Amaretti and Ricotta
A no-cook summer dessert.
4 cups (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
2 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 amaretti cookies
1 teaspoon cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
Thwack the cherries with the flat side of a heavy knife so they flatten. Discard the pits. Divide the cherries among 4 pretty, clear glasses.
In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, sugar, milk, and almond extract. Spoon pillows of ricotta over the cherries in equal proportions. Crumble one amaretti cookie over each serving and sprinkle with the cacao nibs. Serve immediately.
Tip: You'll find amaretti cookies (Italian macaroons) in larger supermarkets or Italian grocery stores, though you may substitute toasted, chopped almonds if you like.
Third photo credit: Photography © 2012 by Paulette Phlipot