It's no surprise that summer is a great time for fruit, especially stone fruit such as apricots, plums, nectarines, peaches and of course cherries too! A nice, ripe, blood red cherry is just my favorite thing to bite into, releasing its sweet, addicting juice that immediately makes you reach for another. And another. But besides eating cherries au naturale, which I highly recommend, they're wonderful when cooked and made into desserts, preserves and even soups.
The three easy recipes I provide you with here were all inspired by my Eastern European grandparents and my great uncle, Simon who's an expert at canning, pickling and preserving foods. The first is a simple recipe for a cherry compote, which my family typically devours after a hearty lunch. It couldn't be easier, with just two simple ingredients and some water too.
Secondly, you'll find a recipe for a chilled Hungarian Cherry Soup that my grandmother used to make on really hot summer days, cooling us off instantly--our ravenous appetites draining a whole potful in just a few minutes. The secret is using smaller cherries, which are easier to digest in soup form. When she had time, Nadika (Hungarian grandma) pitted the cherries and at other times, she'd leave them as is, letting my brother and I work a bit. We had to earn our keep in the kitchen, after all. I recommend making larger batches of the soup, freezing it and enjoying it whenever you like.
And finally, there's the dark cherry Bublanina (cherry cake) in honor of my great uncle Simon. Remembering this dessert each time we came over for a visit, served with a cup of tea or a malinovka (fruit syrup drink), could never limit our helping to just one piece. The chunky cherry pieces inside the soft, spongy cake tantalized us and made us jump up and down on his squishy couch cushions, hollering for more. We'd caught the cherry fever, and we had it bad.