Baking A Puffy Cherry Dessert

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 18, 2006
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Hawaii Arts Alliance honors Nancy Bannick at “Celebrate the Arts” Oct. 21 at Hawaii Theatre. She’ll be receiving the prestigious Alfred Preis Award on its 25th anniversary. The tribute includes entertainment by Grammy award-winner Daniel Ho, with Halau Hula Ka No’eau, Iolani School Orchestra, Randy Drake, George Kahumoku, Herb Ohta Jr. and Dean Taba.

Nancy has been in Hawaii since 1950. Her kudos include historic preservationist, author, arts phil-anthropist, civic volunteer, Hawaii Public Radio board member, chamber music and Honolulu Symphony enthusiast, architectural photographer, and athlete. She travels the world and delights friends with her postcard descriptions of exotic locales, having written in her earlier years for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Sunset magazine.


Nancy drives a 1969 Volkswagen convertible - yellow with black top and white side-walls - and writes on a manual typewriter, so she’s a true preservationist to whom I dedicate this recipe.

Cherries are believed to have originated in northeastern Asia and have been cultivated in many parts of the world since prehistoric times.

The Bing, which is the juiciest, is the most common variety in North America.

Cherries must be picked ripe, as they do not ripen after harvesting. Try to choose bright-colored, glossy fruits that are plump and firm. The stems should not be dried out. Avoid cherries with brown spots and wrinkled skin.

Cherries tend to spoil rapidly at room temperature and should be placed in the refrigerator where they should keep for a few days if they are still firm. They tend to absorb odors and should be placed away from strong-smelling foods. Store them in a perforated plastic bag to allow them to breathe, and to keep them from drying out. Cherries can also be frozen, but if frozen are best used for cooking, not eating out of hand.


Sweet cherries are a good source of potassium, fiber, vita-min A, vitamin C and fiber. They are said to be diuretic and mildly laxative.

CHERRY DESSERT PUFF

* 1 pound dark cherries, pitted, (may use frozen)
* 1/3 cup sugar *
1/3 cup unbleached flour
* Pinch of salt
* 3 large eggs (or egg substitute)
* 1 cup 2 percent or whole milk
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
* Sugar
for top

METHOD

Preheat oven to 375. Place pitted cherries in buttered baking dish and sprinkle with half the sugar.

Combine flour, salt and remaining sugar in bowl. Beat in eggs one at a time and add milk alternately with the extracts. Mix until batter is smooth. Pour evenly over the cherries and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and puffed. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Can be served warm or cold. Makes four servings.

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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