Bing Cherry Brown Betty
Thankfully cherries have come full into season just before we quit town. We’re having our fill. Instead of a lemonade stand, a little boy down the street sells Bing cherries, $1 a pint, from the family’s backyard trees. What a steal. I’ve bought six pints worth.
What a sweet yet firm flesh the Bing’s have.
I’ve also had delicious first-to-ripen French Burlats here, which taste like Bings but have much more fragile flesh.
So what to make for dessert with such luscious, fleeting fruit? Luckily, my review copy of Rustic Fruit Desserts arrived just in time. If you, like me, always order fruit over chocolate at the end of a meal, this book is for you. Better yet, it’s written by Portlanders Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. Looking forward to having them on the radio show to discuss the book.
Immediately, their Rhubarb and Bing Cherry Brown Betty appealed to me for its simplicity. Spring rhubarb and summer cherries to bridge the seasons. I took a shortcut by using store-bought Lorna Doone Shortbread for the topping but feel free to make your own. And Grand Marinier was a fine substitute for kirsch or brandy. Nor did I butter my pan, but since it was silicone nothing stuck.
Here’s the recipe (from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson, June 2009):
Baking Time: 45 minutes/ Serves 8 to 12
2 tableslespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan
1 pound vanilla bean shortbread, crushed (approximately 18 cookies, or 4 cups crushed)
1 cup (7 ounches) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 6 cups or 1 1/2 pounds prepped)
2 cups (12 ounces) Bing cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted (can substitute any other sweet cherry variety)
2 tablespoons kirsch or brandy
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 3-quart bakign dish.
Rub the sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl, then add the rhubarb and cherries and toss to combine. Stir in the liquor, then let sit for 15 minutes t draw some of the juices from the rhubarb and cherries.
Evenly spread half of the crushed cookies in the prepared pan, then add the rhubarb mixture and all of its juices and gently spread it over the crumbs. Top with the remaining crushed cookies.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and, using the back of a large offset spatula or something similar, gently press down on the betty to ensure the rhubarb mixture is submerged in its juices. Bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Test the rhubarb with a paring knife to ensure that it is soft. Cool for 20 minutes before serving, topped with a dollop or Chantilly, whipped or ice cream.
Storage: This betty is best served the day it is made, but any leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature 2 to 3 days.