Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tipsy Cherries with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream and Chocolate Pound Cake {And a Whole Foods Market Giveaway!}

I'm sitting here writing this post in a nearly empty house.  Most of the things in my house are packed into boxes and are on a truck waiting to board a boat and make their way to Germany.  Today there are packers boxing up the items we decided to leave behind in storage.  Including my beloved Cuisinart food processor and Kitchen Aid mixer.  I could get a transformer to make the voltage work in the European outlets, but have decided the risk to my motors isn't worth it.  Besides, I'll get to buy all new kitchen appliances in Germany!  It's definitely a first world problem, so this is by no means a complaint.  It's simply a little peek into the changes that are happening in my life and some of the decisions I never thought I'd have to make.
This is probably the last post I'll make from the United States.  From now on it's going to be all about my family's journey through Europe and the food that reflects our new home.  But for today, I'm celebrating the good ol' U.S. of A with some beautiful, American grown and family farmed dark sweet cherries.

A few weeks back the newest Whole Foods Market opened up nearby my home and I was invited to attend its grand opening.  At the time I had thought that my partnership with them would be limited to just that one fun evening.  I'm moving to Germany, after all, and I'm pretty sure there aren't any Whole Foods Markets in Stuttgart.  But I received an email last week asking if I'd like to partner with the Market one more time to celebrate the cherry season that is in full swing right now.  I don't have pots, pans, or baking sheets in my kitchen-  heck, there aren't even any measuring spoons or bowls to speak of.  How on Earth would I pull off a recipe worthy of sharing with all of you?
I really gave the idea a lot of thought.  I didn't want to just post something for the sake of having a big name on my blog.  But when Whole Foods said that they would not only send me a box of fresh-from-the-tree cherries, but allow me to give another away to one of my readers I knew it was a challenge that I couldn't let pass by (you'll find the entry to the giveaway below the recipe).  When the box landed on my doorstep yesterday I was so pleased to have made the decision to go for it.  One look at the perfectly hand-packed cherries and I was smitten.  And with the first bite of the Stemilt family's dark sweet cherries I knew it was true love.

So, for those of you how may think that we foodies do nothing but post recipes for other foodies or with a ton of complicated ingredients and directions, I give you the following recipe.  It was made in a hotel kitchenette with the sparsest of supplies and photographed on the hotel bed.  It's testament to the fact that good food doesn't have to be complicated and that the simplest ingredients can make the best meals.
Tipsy Cherries with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream and Chocolate Pound Cake
Serves 4.
For the printable recipe, click here.

This really is a simple dessert to make.  I had been dreaming of putting the cherries and cream over just-baked chocolate shortcakes, but with no oven available to me it wasn't meant to be.  So I found a very tasty (and very store bought) chocolate pound cake and decided to make it the base for my creation.  I don't have a single complaint about my choice- it was just perfect.  The super-sweet cherries cut through the richness of the cake and were balanced just right with the vanilla cream. And feel free to whip your cream up stiffer.  The two fork method I tried out in my hotel room was less than effective, but it tasted great so it didn't bother me a bit to have the loose puddles of cream on the plate.  I managed to forget to shave over the dark chocolate I had in my haste to get a good photograph before the light went away.  I won't forget next time.

1 lb cherries, pitted and halved
3 tbs sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbs liqueur (port or kirsch)

6 oz mascarpone, room temperature
3/4 heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar

4 slices chocolate pound cake
Dark chocolate for shaving over top

Toss the cherries, sugar, orange juice and liqueur in a large bowl.  Allow the cherries to steep with the juices in the refrigerator for at least a half hour and up to two hours.

When ready to serve, whip together the mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla.  You can whip for just a few minutes to get a cream that is loose or a few minutes longer to get a softly peaked cream.  Place a spoonful or two of cream on top of a slice of poundcake.  Top with cherries and some of their juices.  With a cheese grater, grate a bit of dark chocolate over the top.

And now for the giveaway!!!   Simply fill in the entry form below, telling me what you would with these fabulous cherries if they landed on your doorstep.  The contest ends midnight PST, Saturday July 6. Winner will be notified by email and will have 3 days to respond.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The contest is sponsored by Whole Foods Market.  I was compensated for my time, but the recipe, thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.    

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