Sunday, May 30, 2004

Dip into cherries for saucy snacks



The Associated Press

Bing cherry season is the time to dip into the cherry baskets - or to dip the cherries themselves into one or more of the four easy dipping sauces suggested here. No cherry pitting needed before serving.

Crimson and juicy, Bing cherries are often the most fun eaten straight out-of-hand.

But let's be versatile. Trying out these sauce combinations could be a self-indulgence, or the occasion to make a treat for others, family or guests.

Filling a big bowl with the fruit, and placing a choice of dips around it, would make a colorful centerpiece not only for dessert but also for a bridal shower, afternoon tea, weekend brunch or outdoor barbecue.

Cherry tip: It's best to eat cherries as soon as you can after buying them, but they will keep up to two days if refrigerated.

Ginger-Orange Creme Fraiche

1/2 cup creme fraiche

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to serve with cherries. Makes about 1 cup.

Cherry-Chocolate Sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

4-ounce bar German sweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)

Heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and simmer, stirring frequently, until melted. Stir in kirsch. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. Makes about 11/4 cups.

White Chocolate Almond Sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

4-ounce bar white chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur

Heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add white chocolate and simmer, stirring frequently, until melted. Stir in amaretto. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. Makes about 11/4 cups.

Marsala Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon marsala wine

Beat cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Add marsala and beat until stiff peaks form. Makes about 1 cup.




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