My Cherry Bowl Runneth Over…..

Arriving home today, I found a huge bowl of freshly picked cherries sitting on my kitchen counter. I also found two sons smiling proudly. I approached their prize carefully; fearful even one wrong breath might send the mounded cherries toppling to their death all over my kitchen floor. The cherries were plump and juicy and it was obvious our little cherry tree had certainly ‘sprung forth’ in earnest this year – our best crop ever! Suddenly I wondered how old our cherry tree was getting to be, realizing the best way to figure that out quickly would be to consult the family photo album. The boys gave me that tree for my birthday and I’ve taken their photo in front of it every season since. The first couple years they simply stood there since there was no fruit yet, but in most of the photos they are each proudly clutching their own prized bowl of cherries, fingers and faces stained red from cherry juice.

Picking cherries is great until you realize you have to pit them; this becomes a very messy job, especially when you have children involved in the process. This year we took turns using the cherry pitter I purchased while the other three sets of hands used chopsticks to push out seeds – it worked like a charm! As we worked, we talked about what we might make with our bumper crop. As usual, cherry cobbler topped the boys’ list, but I was thinking past the ordinary to cherry coffee cakes, cherry preserves, perhaps even a nice cherry sauce for salmon. My what-shall-I-make-first dilemma was solved shortly when my Mom reminded me of Grandma Lucille’s cherry pancakes. At first I didn’t recall them, but as my mouth began to water, I remembered. Her pancakes were extremely light and fluffy and the cherries added just the right amount of tartness. The best part, though, was how she served them: slathered in butter and sprinkled with sugar. I was one happy kid.

Gram’s Cherry Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup club soda
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ cup fresh, chopped cherries

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; make a well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, club soda and vegetable oil; pour this into the well of dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients until blended, mixture may have a few small lumps; fold in cherries. Heat a lightly oiled grilled over medium high heat. Pour the batter onto the griddle, using approx. ¼ cup for each pancake. Cook until golden on both sides. Serve hot, slathered in butter and sprinkled with granulated sugar.

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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