As much as I enjoy eating cherries out of hand, I have to confess that I usually reserve them for baking. I find there's something mystically alluring about baked cherries. It would have been a challenge if the cherries were sweet and juicy. But the 2 lb that I bought last week didn't leave me with such dilemma. They were as bland as water.
I thought they were destined to be baked and transformed.
I went on auto pilot mode and whipped up a batch of cherry clafoutis for breakfast and used the next 30 bland cherries in the mini cherry & almond tea cakes recipe. When I first saw the picture of the tea cakes here, I know this would be the best use for those cherries. Not to mention, I could finally use the mini muffin pan that I have bought but long forgotten.
Although the author named the recipe tea cakes, the list of ingredients and method of preparation reveal a close resemblance to financiers, which I love. I decreased the amount of brown butter from 10 tablespoons to 8 tablespoons and replaced Chambord for Kirsh which the original recipe suggested.
I like the simplicity of the recipe. Other than browning butter, all one needs is a whisk and a bowl to combine the ingredients. I served them on a tray before a dinner party, and one of my friend's husband loved it so much that I let him took the rest home. Even OCT who usually complains about the hassle of removing pits in cherries like the mini cherry tea cakes.
I am already thinking of making another batch for our next picnic.
adapted from Martha Stewart Living
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for muffin tin
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for tin
1 1/4 cups finely ground unblanched almonds
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg whites
4 teaspoons Chambord / kirsch (cherry brandy)
30 sweet (Bing) cherries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 30 cups of 2 mini-muffin tins with butter, and dust lightly with flour.
*Note: I used a 24 cups mini muffins pan, and filled the rest of the batter in 3 disposable aluminium muffin cups.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it begins to sputter, reduce heat to medium. Cook, swirling skillet occasionally, until butter has lightly browned. Skim foam from top, and remove skillet from heat.
Whisk together flour, ground almonds, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add egg whites, and whisk until smooth. Stir in chambord/kirsch. Pour in butter, leaving any dark-brown sediment in skillet, and whisk to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Ladle 1 tablespoon batter into each buttered muffin cup, filling about halfway. Push a cherry into each, keeping stem end up. With a small spoon, smooth batter over cherries to cover. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and cakes are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen, and unmold. Cakes can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature overnight.