Use whatever fruit you like in these ‘cherry slices’! Apple, blueberry and apricot are all delicious.
Somewhat inevitably, I have an ever-growing collection of Jewish cookery books. Some I use frequently, like my wonderful and well-worn Evelyn Rose. Others I dip into from time to time, like Olive Trees and Honey, which is a lovely collection of traditional Jewish vegetarian recipes.
However, the one I’ve had the longest (it was a Bat Mitzvah present when I was 12 years old) is Carr and Oberman’s Gourmet’s Guide to Jewish Cooking. It contains roughly equal parts traditional jewish recipes (chopped liver, chicken soup etc) and food that presumably was fashionable when the book was first published – sometime in the early 1970s? Many of the recipes in this latter category are pretty horrendous sounding by today’s standards – avocado soup? Sweet and sour giblets? Lung and liver pie? Bleurgh. The over-saturated colour illustrations don’t help much, either.
BUT, and it’s a big BUT, there is one recipe in this book that takes me back to my childhood in an instant. Cherry slices. It was a frequent dessert feature on our Friday night dinner table, although I can’t recall a single instance when my Mum made it with cherries. Usually it was apple, and occasionally (this was the 1980s remember) tinned apricots. Yum!
A few weeks ago we were visiting my parents, and I mentioned my memory of cherry slices to her. Of course we had to make it! That time, we used stewed apple, and the consensus was a) it was still delicious and b) the ratio of ‘bottom’ to ‘topping’ needed adjusting.
Which is just what I have done. As well as translating the recipe into metric units and making one or two other minor tweaks. I still haven’t made it with cherries mind you. I used blueberries, but you can substitute any fruit you like, really. I might have a go with tinned apricots, just for nostalgia’s sake.
We had this warm, with ice-cream, as a pudding, and it was delicious. The cinnamon-sugary topping forms a sweet, brittle crust over the fruit, which cracks and crumbles under the pressure of your spoon. Mmmmm. Once the leftovers had cooled down, I served this in slices, like cake, and it was also fabulous. Good on its own, but again, a little ice-cream, cream, or even natural yogurt wouldn’t hurt at all. Perfect with morning coffee.
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- 75g margarine or butter - plus extra for greasing the dish/tin
- 115g self-raising flour
- 25g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 300g blueberries - or other fruit of your choice
- 130g caster sugar
- 60g self-raising flour
- 60g margarine or butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 23cm round baking dish or cake tin.
- To make the bottom, rub the margarine into the flour to give crumbs. Stir in the sugar. Add the egg and mix well to give a soft dough.
- Spread the dough over the base of the greased dish.
- Spread the fruit filling over the dough to give an even layer.
- To make the topping, rub the margarine into the flour to give crumbs, then stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle into an even layer on top of the fruit.
- Bake at 180C for 45minutes - 1 hour, until golden on top and cooked though. Serve warm as a pudding, or cold as a cake.