By LYDIA BOLEN
Many observances occur each year in the month of February. Americans enjoy a national holiday to commemorate our U.S. Presidents. Valentine’s Day is the 14th of the month, and is a traditional day to send flowers, cards, and candy to our loved ones.
Americans love the story of our first President, George Washington, as he supposedly cut down his father’s beloved cherry tree. This story continues to make its way into books and illustrations to this day.
The story of the cherry tree, along with the color red for Valentine hearts, reminds me of red fruit desserts. I scoured my Grandmother’s recipes until I found three of her prized cherry desserts. I hope you enjoy these recipes from South Mississippi that have been passed down for generations.
CHERRY CREME PARFAITS
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 dash of salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 can (21 ounce) cherry pie filling, divided
With electric mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat until soft peaks form. Fold in sour cream.
Set aside 6 cherries from the pie filling for garnish. Spoon half of the remaining pie filling into parfait glasses; top with half of the cream mixture. Repeat the layers. Top each parfait with a reserved cherry.
Refrigerate until serving time.
BING CHERRY SALAD
- 1 can (20 ounce) crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 can (15 ounce) Bing cherries in water, pitted
- 3 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
- 1 can (12 ounce) Coca-Cola
- 1 (3 ounce) package cherry Jell-O
Drain the pineapple juice and cherry water into a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour enough Coke into the measuring cup to reach 2 cups. Discard (or drink) the remaining Coke.
Pour the cola mixture into a saucepan. Bring the cola mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Stir in pineapple, cherries, cream cheese, and cherry gelatin until gelatin dissolves. This should take around 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a favorite gelatin mold or a glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.
Can serve with a dollop of mayonnaise and a sprig of fresh mint on each serving.
- 1 jar (10 ounce) maraschino cherries (drained, liquid reserved)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
- 1 and 1 4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup maraschino liquid
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 egg whites, beaten until stiff peaks form (Tip: beat egg whites first and set aside)
- Pink food coloring
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 regular-size muffin cups with festive cupcake baking papers. Set aside. (You may need to use 2 muffin tins)
Beat egg whites and set aside. Finely chop drained maraschino cherries with a sharp knife. Place chopped cherries on paper towels to drain more.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt: set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in mixer until blended.
In a measuring cup, stir together one half cup cherry liquid, milk, and almond extract.
Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture. Stir in a few drops of pink food coloring. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Fold in chopped cherries.
Spoon batter into muffin cups about 3 /4 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to cooling rack for about 30 minutes.
- 2 containers canned whipped vanilla frosting
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon reserved maraschino cherry juice
- Pink food coloring
- 18 maraschino cherries with stems
Spoon canned frosting into mixer with 1 tablespoon of cherry liquid. Add 1 teaspoon almond extract and enough pink food coloring for desired color. Beat 2 minutes.
Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes using an offset spatula. Garnish each cupcake with a cherry with stem.
Makes 18 cupcakes.