Random Recipes has turned 40 this month. So Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has set us a special challenge. He asked us to count along our cook books until we hit number 40 and then to turn to page 40 and make whatever fate (or randomness) picked for us.
Number 40 on my shelf was an interesting choice………. The Brogdale Stone Fruit Recipe Book. A very local book, published by a local printer for the Brogdale Trust, which houses the national fruit collection in Faversham, Kent. The hundreds of rows of fruit trees (from apples, pears and plums to cherries, cobnuts and bush fruits) are truly impressive……….. 2,200 varieties of apple, 550 types of pear, 337 plums and 285 varieties of cherry. And to celebrate the various seasons from blossoming to harvest, the farm puts on a whole range of wild and wacky fruit festivals.
Page 40 of the Brogdale Stone Fruit Recipe Book revealed a choice of two recipes : Apricot Brown Betty or Cherry Omelettes. I love cherries, so this jumped out as the more appealing fruit choice, although the idea of a cherry ‘omelette’ was a little off-putting. I was also really disappointed that at the start of June (when I did the book count), the local cherries were yet to appear.
I am SO glad I didn’t rush out and buy a load of foreign imports. Three weeks later and summer has finally arrived………….. and so have the cherries…….. early! Hurrah!! Something is working in my favour on this one…………
I always buy my cherries from the local orchards………. by the ton (well almost…..). I pitt and freeze them so that they last all winter and gorge on as many as I can eat whilst they are on the trees. By a cruel twist of nature’s fate, the cherry season is ridiculously short, so any way to make it last longer has to be grabbed.
My very favourite orchard is situated on a little back lane just outside Faversham and is simply marked with a sign saying ‘Cherries – Follow The Track’. But this is no ordinary orchard……….. it is Terry’s Orchard. Full of traditional, standard cherry trees, laden with juicy red balls of fruity deliciousness, only reachable by traditional, narrowing cherry-picking ladders. When you visit Terry’s Cherries, you step back in time. Old metal weighing scales, hand-rigged bird scarers, long, long ladders which seem to reach for the sky and a sign which reads ‘Sound Horn For Service’. I love it!
But I digress………….. Back to the cherry omelette…….. Loaded with freshly picked cherries, my random recipe was up for testing. Closer examination of the ingredients suggested the end result would be more of a pancake than an omelette, which was quite a relief (hence the name change), so we decided they would make a perfect breakfast treat.
The recipe in the book was made with wheat flour, so I amended slightly to make it gluten free. Rather than do a straight substitution into a plain gluten free flour blend, I added a little buckwheat flour to the mix, which gives a slightly more wholesome, nutty edge and is particularly good for pancakes. I also added a sprinkle from the sugar weight to the batter mix to sweeten very slightly.
The resulting pancakes were surprisingly good. Fruity, juicy cherries, surrounded by slightly sweetened pancake and sprinkled with a little extra sugar and cherry syrup. Why have I not made these before?
Oh well……. Thanks Dom! Yet another random recipe discovery to add to the list of ‘must eat again soon’!
On account of the delicious cherries bought freshly picked from the orchard, I am also entering these pancakes into a new challenge for me – Simple and in Season, hosted by Ren over at Ren Behan. I am thrilled that the cherries have come into season early and am looking forward to many return trips to see Terry over the next few weeks!
Cherry Pancake (adapted from The Brogdale Stone Fruit recipe Book)
- Beat together the flours, eggs, kirsch, salt and about 20g of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk. Gradually add the milk, continuing to whisk until well blended, light and very airy.
- Cover and set the batter aside to stand for at least two hours in the fridge.
- Wash, de-stalk and pitt the cherries. Cut some of them in half.
- When ready to make the pancakes, add the cherries to the batter and stir through.
- If you are making extra cherry syrup topping, put a handful of additional halved cherries in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar and gently simmer for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
- Melt a small nob of butter in a non-stick frying pan or pancake pan and scoop a couple of large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan when it is hot. Swirl the batter round the pan so that you get a flat pancake.
- Sprinkle a little sugar on top and cook until the pancake is golden brown on the underside.
- Either turn the pancake over to cook the other side or fold in half and let it continue to cook for a further minute or so.
- Serve on a plate with an extra sprinkle of sugar and (if using) an extra spoonful of cherry syrup topping.