Well, I promised you sausages and instead you get cherries! Did you know that tomorrow, 16 July, is National Cherry Day here in the UK? Neither did I until I stumbled across a reference to it recently. Cherries are one of my favourite fruits and I wait eagerly for the summer glut when prices start to fall.
Amazingly, 95% of the cherries we eat are imported which is not good news for the fruit growing industry in Britain. And which therefore makes me ashamed to admit that my favourites are the sweet picota cherries from Spain: I'll probably be thrown in the Tower of London for treason. However, to celebrate this Day and redeem myself, I'm going to share with you a very traditional recipe for Cherry Dumpers, which originated in Buckinghamshire.
Shortcrust pastry (home made using your favourite recipe, or bought)
100% British cherries, pitted
Milk or egg to glaze
Make the pastry and roll out. Use a small plate to cut out circles - the size of plate will depend on how big you like your dumpers. We're pretty greedy when it comes to sweet things so I used an 18cm tea plate.
Pile some cherries in the middle of the circle and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Brush the edge of one half with water using a brush or your finger. Fold over one side to meet the other to make a half circle. You'll probably need less cherries than you think as I had to pop a few of these in my mouth to get the sides to meet! Crimp the edge using a fork and brush with milk or beaten egg. Place on a greased baking tray and pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
Remove when golden and sprinkle with caster sugar whilst still hot. You can serve as they are or with cream or ice cream. I found them a little plain so, if I made them again, I'd probably experiment by using a more buttery pastry or by tossing the fruit in liqueur or cordial, or even in some ground almonds.
If you don't fancy a Dumper, how about celebrating with a different recipe? One of my own favourites is Cherry Eton Mess. In America, you could almost celebrate lovely juicy cherries with a different recipe every month. 17 May 2014 has been declared National Cherry Cobbler Day. Doesn't appeal? Well what about Cherry Tart (18 June)? Or Cherry Cheesecake (23 April)? Or Chocolate-Covered Cherries (3 January)? Or even the August double whammy of Cherry Popsicle (26 August) and Cherry Turnovers (28 August)!
Which one would you choose? Or do you have another favourite? x