Friday, August 23, 2013

Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Cherries

As I mentioned in the last post, I received a pretty stellar assortment of summer fruit tools as part of OXO's Blogger Outreach Program. Now I am not required to blog about all (or any) of the tools I receive, but when something makes my life easier and more fruitful (bad pun intended), I want to share.

Last time, I sang the praises of OXO's large fruit scoop, mango splitter, and pineapple slicer, but there was one more tool I simply had to get my hands on before we said adieu to summer: the cherry pitter.

I am a huge fan of fresh cherries, but eating them around my two-year-old can be a bit of a pain. She always wants what Mommy is eating, and giving her a big bowl of cherries with the pits intact is as good as scheduling myself a Heimlich-maneuver practice session. In the past I'd bite around the pit and hand her bits of the flesh as I'd go, or I'd forget about buying cherries in the first place.

Fortunately for me, the cherry pitter has changed all that. Now Oia and I can share a bowl of cherries, our fingers taking on deep shades of crimson, as we watch Dora the Explorer and prepare to take on the world.

This recipe is inspired by my love of the union of dark chocolate, cherries, and goat cheese, and by the easy-to-use OXO cherry pitter. I mean, after you put holes in a whole mess of cherries, it's only right to fill them with something yummy, don't you think?

This recipe can be made in whatever quantity desired, exact measurements not necessary.

The mascarpone adds creaminess, smooths out the texture of the filling, and slightly softens the flavor of the goat cheese. Though often compared to cream cheese, mascarpone tends to have a creamier mouthfeel, and a subtler (less tart) flavor, and a slight, inherent sweetness not found in commercial cream cheese. You could substitute cream cheese for the mascarpone if necessary, but you would probably want to add a little sugar to cut the tartness.

Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Cherries
Fresh, sweet cherries (such as Bing)
Equal parts fresh goat cheese (chevre) and mascarpone cheese, both at room temperature
Very dark chocolate (I used Endangered Species 88% cocoa), for finely chopping or grating

Wash the cherries and pat dry before pitting. Pit the cherries with the stem-sides up.

Beat together the cheeses until smooth and fluffy--the mixture will be somewhat firm but airier and very well combined.

Transfer the cheese mixture into a small piping bag, snip off a small opening at the end, and pipe a small amount of the mixture into the bottom of each cherry. The cherries will sit upside down (stem-side down), with the puffs of filling peeking out from the bottoms (now the tops).

Sprinkle the chocolate over the tops of the stuffed cherries and transfer to a platter to serve or to an airtight container to chill until ready to serve.

The stuffed cherries make an excellent sweet hors d'oeuvre for a cocktail party or a perfect tiny bite to serve with coffee at the end of a large meal. Minus the chocolate, they were also a pretty major hit with my two-year-old, who now can't stop asking for more stuffed cherries--yea! They'll keep well, stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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