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Beyond pie: Fresh ideas for your fresh fruit

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Sunday, May 19, 2013, at 9:26 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, May 19, 2013, at 10:12 a.m.

More information


2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup brandy

1 cup fresh sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted and halved

Unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Vanilla gelato or ice cream (optional)

For brandied cherries, in a small saucepan combine the 2/3 cup sugar and the brandy. Bring to boiling; add cherries. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for three minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan. Line pan with foil, leaving about 1 inch of the foil extending over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil; sprinkle with cocoa powder.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Transfer melted butter to a medium bowl. Add the 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until cocoa powder is completely incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add flour; stir just until combined. Spread batter in the prepared pan.

Bake about 25 minutes or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan. Cool brownies for 45 minutes (they will still be slightly warm). Use foil to lift uncut brownies from pan. Cut warm brownies into 16 squares. Place one brownie square on each of four shallow dessert dishes. Top with brandied cherries and gelato or ice cream, if desired. Store remaining brownies for other use.

Source: "Better Homes and Gardens Fresh"

You’ve picked your fruit or berries, rinsed them off and gobbled down as many as your stomach can possibly hold at one or two sittings.

Now it’s time to get creative. Here are some ideas for doing that, along with information on how to handle them properly.

• Peaches – Of course they’re great for pies and cobblers. But how about incorporating them into salsa, making a batch of peach ice cream or grilling them alongside chicken? Tip: If your peaches aren’t quite ripe, place them in an open brown paper bag, but don’t touch them to prevent damage at the contact points.

• Plums – Combine with grilled steak or other protein in a main-course salad, or simmer in a saucepan, adding liquid as necessary, until broken down into a sauce. Tip: Plums are loaded with antioxidants and other good stuff, so don’t neglect them for their more glamorous cousin the peach.

• Berries – Berries go into pie shells, too, but leave them uncovered tart-style to show off their beautiful color. In addition to jams and jellies, make a cool treat out of them via a sorbet. Sprinkle over cereal or oatmeal for a great start to the day. Tip: Use as quickly as possible, storing unwashed in a tightly wrapped container in the refrigerator for no more than a couple of days. Wash before use.

• Cherries – Sweet cherries are for eating fresh; tart cherries go into pies and crisps. We’re not giving away any secrets when we say cherries have an affinity for chocolate and spirits, as the accompanying recipe for Brownies with Brandied Cherries shows. Tip: Cherries with stems attached last longer than those with stems removed. Store unwashed in the refrigerator, washing right before use.

• Apples – Apple pie. End of story.

Source: "Better Homes and Gardens Fresh" (2013, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99)

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