Saturday, August 15, 2009


Our new neighborhood is very stroll-able. My husband and I go for a walk just about every weeknight, catching up on each other's days and looking at the beautifully landscaped yards and the gorgeous stone houses, wondering at their history. Sometimes we walk up and down the main street, looking in closed shop windows, admiring cakes and cookies and loaves of bread in the window of a bakery or stopping to read a posted restaurant menu.

I suppose that eventually we will try most of these places. I know our friends help us out with this, too; a few days ago, I went with a friend to a bakery cafe that is located in an old flower shop conservatory. I brought my leftovers home and sent them (half of a grilled cheese sandwich) with my husband for lunch the next day. He came home saying that he had his doubts about a cold grilled cheese sandwich, but it was so good that he was dying to go try that restaurant himself!

I do some strolling myself during the days, too. I often go up to the library to check out a book or two, and pass one of the neighborhood markets on the way home. A few days ago, I stopped by on my way home from the library, and I saw a beautifully unexpected sight; sour cherries! They are well past their prime; they usually show up for about two weeks in June or July. I have read about them in several blogs this summer, and have been intrigued by descriptions of this incredibly tart fruit and how if I see some, I must buy them! I grabbed two very full quart baskets and came home with my bounty.

I am freezing over half of them for a winter treat, but what to do with the rest of my new discovery? Well, given my recent baking kick, I decided to bake a loaf of cherry almond bread. How good does that sound?

The bread was wonderful. It was incredibly moist and yummy. The cherries were very tart, but a wonderful contrast to the sweet bread. If you happen to see some late-season sour cherries at your market, pick them up and try some!

Cherry Almond Bread

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon orange cognac
zest of one lemon or orange
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk (or sour cream)
1 cup pitted sour (tart) cherries
1/2-3/4 cup sliced almonds

Sift together the first eight ingredients in a small bowl. Take two tablespoons of this dry mixture and toss with the cherries and almonds.

Cream the butter and sugars in a medium bowl with hand mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at the time. Mix in the extract, cognac and zest. Mix in the dry ingredients alternately wiht the buttermilk and sour cream.

Using a spatula, fold in the cherries and almonds.

Bake for 1 hour at 350°. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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