Don’t throw out the cherries!
If you are making sour cherry wine, it is time to transfer the juice to a demijohn. The cherries will be floating on top of your primary vessel. Lift off the cherries and place in a strainer, covered with a cotton clothe or piece of gauze. Let the juice drain off the cherries. Set the cherries aside then strain the rest of the juice through the cloth. Put juice in a clean demijohn and seal it with an airlock.
The cherries from the primary can be pitted, then used for baking, made into compote or brandied fruit or frozen. Be careful to remove all the pits. Here are my recipes for Sour Cherry Cake and Compote.
A Czech Sour Cherry Cake – višňový koláč
2 cups pitted sour cherries
½ cup sugar for cherries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup sugar for cake
1/3 cup soft butter
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla and almond extract
Heat the oven to 400F (200C). Toss cherries in ½ cup sugar and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients. In another bowl whip together eggs, milk and butter with a fork. Hollow out the center of the flour mixture and drop in the liquid mixture. With a fork, incorporate the flour mixture with the liquid until smooth. Add vanilla and almond extracts.
Pour cake batter onto a greased large rectangular baking pan ( 12” X 15”), smooth evenly. Sprinkle cherries over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool; cut into squares.
Sour Cherry Compote
1 ½ pounds pitted sour cherries
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water
Measure the fruit and sugar and 1 cup of water in a large pot on the stove (cooker). Stir the fruit and sugar, coating all the fruit with sugar, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Next, cook the fruit over medium high heat until it reaches a full boil, then cook another 10 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Stir in cornstarch mixed with water. Continue cooking and stirring for another 10 minutes. At this point it will foam. You can skim the foam off the surface, but I have found that when you start jarring the fruit the foam sticks to the side of the pot as the level of liquid is reduced. Pour in sterilized glass jars and seal with tight-fitting lids.