Since cherries are in season now, Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta is one cherry dessert that should be at the top of your “desserts to make today” list. Have you seen cherries at the grocery stores? I have. In fact, I’ve bought 2 bunches this week. I bring them home from the grocery store to make something special and before I know it Sweet Shark had eaten half a bag and I have to go back to the store. It’s been awhile since I’ve shared any recipes on the blog, so I thought a cherry dessert would be just the right recipe to get the recipe band wagon rolling again..
Since I first started seeing cherries in the market last week, making some cherry desserts has been on my mind. I pulled out a couple of cherry dessert recipes that I like and then searched for some new ones. I couldn’t make up my mind, so I ended up choosing 3 cherry desserts. Over the next 2 weeks I’ll share them on the blog. And I promise that all 3 are simple and easy enough for a weeknight treat or can be dressed up for company.
Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta
I found this recipe for Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta a few years ago in a Southern Living magazine and put it on the back burner in my dessert file. What made me finally make it was that our basil is still growing like crazy and the idea of using basil with cherries sounded intriguing. This dessert is so easy. You can make it in about 20 minutes, then put it in the fridge while you make dinner. Then it will be ready to serve afterward.
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Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta is not too sweet. The orange flavor from the orange zest and the orange juice gives the dessert nice aroma and flavor. This is definitely the dessert for those who don’t care for overly sweet or chocolatey desserts. The ricotta could be substituted with mascarpone or maybe even Greek yogurt.
A Word about Cherries
Cherries are a stone fruit, similar to plums that are in season from June to August. When you shop for them, look for firm, plump, and shiny cherries with bright green stems. Dried up stems are a sign of old cherries. Cherries are usually packaged in loose plastic bags or sometimes in bulk. When you bring them home from the store, place them, unwashed and with stems attached, in a bowl in the fridge for up to one week. Wash right before eating, as water can cause the cherries to soften and mold.
How to Prepare Cherries
If you’re eating cherries out of hand, you can just grab one by the stem and eat it off the pit. But for eating with other foods, you have to pit them. No doubt about it, a cherry pitter is the easiest way to get that darn pit out of the cherry. Bonus: you can also use a cherry pitter for pitting olives. If you don’t have a cherry pitter, you can use the side of a chef’s knife: gently press down on the cherry and give it a little whack. The cherry should separate and you can pull the pit out.
TIP: cherry juice can stain clothes so I encourage you to wear an apron. If you have marble countertops, protect the marble since it’s very porous (Same for wine, acid~based foods, such as tomatoes and citrus.)
TIP: when you are pitting the cherries, point the cherry pitter down into a bowl or hold close to a cutting board. You don’t want to put someone’s eye out.
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A New Recipe Software Debut
Today I’m introducing a new format for my recipes called WP Tasty Recipes, conceived and developed by the food techies at Food Blogger Pro, the best technical and educational support for food bloggers, I think. This new software is more blogger friendly and more security secure (for me) and more user friendly for you, the reader. It’s easy just to click on the print button to print out a version that you can add to your recipe files.
Back to Making Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta
As I’ve said this recipe is so easy: after pitting your cherries, slice in half, toss them with orange zest, orange juice, the sugar, salt and chopped basil in a bowl. Gently stir, cover the bowl and place in the fridge for an hour. This is when you can make dinner, eat and clean up the kitchen. Take the cherries out of the fridge and let sit for about 10 minutes. Easy peasey.
I always seem to tweak recipes for one reason or another. Here’s the changes I made or would make:
- the recipe calls for dark sugar; I only had light brown sugar on hand, so that’s what I used.
- the recipe calls for halving half the cherries and leaving the other half whole. Next time, I would halve all of them, just to make it easier to eat.
- the recipe doesn’t specify what type of ricotta. I used whole milk ricotta, but I think part~skim would be just fine.
Equipment for Making the Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta
I’ve already mentioned the cherry pitter. You will need a microplane for zesting the orange. I have had my microplane for over 15 years and I bet I’ve used it a thousand times for zesting and grating all citruses, ginger, cheeses, nutmeg. It is super high on my must haves in the kitchen.
I love these cute polka~dot bowls I found a few years ago at a little store in McKinney, Texas. Just the perfect size for this cherry dessert.
O.K. it’s time to share the recipe.
Hope you enjoy this simple Orange~Basil Cherries with Ricotta or Mascarpone or maybe even some vanilla ice cream. If you can’t wait for dessert, try it for breakfast over some yogurt. Either way, enjoy!
I took a couple of weeks off from Link Parties, but here is where I shared this week (July 30 ~ August 3):