Sour Cherry

El Bolson, Northern Patagonia, Argentina. I mentioned this place in my Argentinean Beef food post earlier. Well, it was one magical place for us. Here was where we stayed at a wonderful friend/ family’s house for weeks. We also had the good fortune to be in this area at that short time of the year (January/February) when the summer fruits are in season.

I absolutely LOVE summer fruits, particularly berries and cherries.

Growing up in Hungary, I spent all my summers with my two brothers at our Grandma’s house in Pánd -a tiny little, insignificant village with only about 2500-3000 people as population, and approx. 100 km South-East of Budapest. Now, usually no one heard of Pánd -not even in Hungary, but Pánd is actually famous of its very own species of sour cherry (meggy -in Hungarian) that even bears with the village’s name Pándi Meggy. It is larger than other sour-cherries, it’s kind of opaque red -not as deep dark burgundy as normal cherry, it’s juicy and tastes tangy, sour leaving a wonderful sweet aftertaste in the mouth. When it was time, the children used to be in charge of climbing the trees and pick the fruits and the rest of the family were washing, selecting and pitting the cherries. My Grandma used to make all sorts of lovely things of it such as pitted sour cherry preserves, cordial, jam, liquor and of course her famous Meggyes Pite (a kind of Sour-Cherry Pie but soooo much nicer as you are imagining it. It’s more like a sponge cake but sooo much nice than that too!)

Back to El Bolson, when we were invited to stay at our friend’s house I noticed that they had several sour-cherry trees and I couldn’t help it but my memories were flooding back about my Grandma’s pite which I haven’t had for decades so decided to make it. It was exceedingly good, if I may say so myself. (I was especially better able to make it as the family had a kitchen mixer which you need to make this -or at least much much easier, and which we don’t have in our truck)

If you are in the mood, this is how you do it.

200gr Butter (soft, unsalted)
vanilla or a few drops of extract
60gr icing sugar (for the egg yolk mix)
4 eggs
1 lemon’s zest
100gr caster sugar (for the egg white)
200gr flour
1 pck baking powder
500gr sour-cherry (washed, pitted)

1. Wash and pit the sour-cherries (it doesn’t take as long, and quite therapeutic) then put them in a sieve to completely drain the water
2. Turn oven on 150C-160C. Grease with butter an oven tray (approx. 30cm x 20cm, 5.5-6cm deep)
3. separate egg yolks and egg whites.
4. If possible, use Kitchen mixer. Beat egg white till it’s nearly hard foam then add the 100gr of caster sugar spoon by spoon then put it aside.
5. in another dish mix the egg yolks + soft butter + lemon zest + vanilla + 60gr icing sugar till it’s creamy
6. Mix gently the egg yolk batter to the foamy egg white
7. Add the flour, spoon by spoon to the mix carefully turning it with a wooden spoon or spatula
8. Pour half or a little more of the batter in to the greased oven tray, then add approx 3/4 of the sour-cherry. Cover it with the rest of the batter and add the rest of the sour-cherry on the top, spreading it nicely in the corners too.
9. Shove it into the hot oven and bake it for 35-40 minutes. Maybe check it at around 30 mins in case you need to rotate the tray -like I had to do as I don’t have air fan in my oven.

Once it’s done, cool it, cut approx 2inch sq (3-4cm sq) cubes, sprinkle it with a little icing sugar and try not to neck it down in one go.

The soft, lightly sweet and moist sponge cake with juicy, tangy surprises having a little disco-dance party in the mouth at every bite tastes like little heaven.

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