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Try These Recipes For Fresh Cherries

Fresh Cherries

With cherry season just getting started, here are some recipes to use when the bins start to overflow.

--Brandied Cherries. Put clean, dry, firm cherries into a sterilized jar. Add a little sugar, and cover with brandy. Close the jar and store in a cool, dark place. Turn the jar every day until sugar dissolves.

--Cherry Cobbler. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Make a favorite cobbler crust. Pit and stem about 4 cups of cherries. Put in a bowl, and toss with 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar. Put the cherries in a baking dish, top with the crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden and the juice is bubbling around the edges. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

--Cherry Sauce. Pit and stem about 2 cups of cherries. Put them in a saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until the juice has thickened. If desired, strain. Serve the cherries warm or cold over ice cream or cake.

--Chocolate Cherry Cake. Make a favorite two-layer chocolate cake and chocolate frosting. Spread one layer with frosting; then spread with very sweet chopped cherries. Add the second layer and frost. Top with a cluster of whole cherries with stems attached.

--Pain Perdu With Poached Cherries. Pit about 20 cherries. Put them in a saucepan, and add about 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer, and poach for 10 to 15 minutes or until a syrup forms and the cherries are soft but still hold their shape.

Dip thick slices of country-style bread in beaten eggs. Melt a nugget of butter in a skillet. Saute the dipped bread until golden. Serve with the cherries and their juice.

Georgeanne Brennan, a food and garden writer who lives in Yolo County, is the author of ``Aperitif'' and ``The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence.'' She can be reached by e-mail at food@sfgate.com.

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