Cherries are one of nature’s great gifts. They can help with sleep thanks and weight loss, have anti-ageing properties, boost energy, and make any dessert look great. In addition to the health benefits, they also taste delicious, and the following recipes showcasing European Picota Cherries from Nourishing Amy and Bo’s Kitchen will make you love them even more!
This year’s 2022 European Picota Season, which ran from 4th– 10th July, saw these unique and spectacular cherries take centre stage. Like many other fruits, cherries come with a wide range of health benefits, some of which we’ve highlighted above. Picota Cherries are grown exclusively in the Jerte Valley and protected by a denomination of origin (DO) certificate, which verifies the fruit has been grown, harvested, and packed under rigorous quality control procedures.
The Jerte Valley is a beautiful area renowned for one of Spain’s most stunning springtime spectacles – the blossoming of the cherry trees. It is a truly inspiring sight when over one million cherry trees bathe the valley side in white, preceding the ripening and harvesting of the distinctively sweet and crunchy Picota cherry.
The following recipes highlight the quality and versatility of the Picota as Europe’s naturally stalkless cherry. With its dark red colour and aesthetic appearance, this cherry lends itself to those looking to produce stunning yet delicious food. These recipes have been created by influencers Nourishing Amy and Bo’s Kitchen.
Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Cupcakes
“Chocolate, cherries, and amaretto are the DREAM combination in cupcake form. These are rich, juicy, fruity and chocolatey and are secretly so easy to make (and they’re fully vegan and easily gluten-free.” – Nourishing Amy.
Time: 40 minutes plus cooling
For the Cupcakes:
- 240ml plant-based milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 140g caster sugar
- 80ml sunflower or olive oil
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- ½ tsp almond essence
- 170g self-raising flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp coffee, optional
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp amaretto (optional)
For the Filling:
- 200g European Picota Cherries (pitted weight)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tsp amaretto (optional)
For the Frosting:
- 120g vegan butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ¼ tsp almond essence
- 350g icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp plant-based milk
- 10 European Picota cherries, whole
- Shaved chocolate
- Toasted almonds/coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 160Fan/180*C and line a muffin/cupcake tray with 10 cases.
2. To a large mixing bowl, add the milk, lemon juice, sugar, sunflower oil, vanilla essence, and almond essence. Whisk till smooth.
3. Now sift in the flour, cocoa powder, coffee, and bicarbonate of soda. Whisk to a smooth batter with no specks of flour.
4. Scoop the batter into the cases, filling 2/3 full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes, until risen and springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
5. Remove immediately from the tray and sit on a wire rack. Brush with the amaretto, if using, and allow to cool fully.
6. Meanwhile, make the filling: add the Picota Cherries to a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a bubble. Allow to bubble away over high heat for 8 minutes, until sticky and there’s a thick syrup. Pour into a bowl and cool fully (you can place them in the fridge, too).
7. When ready, prepare the buttercream: add the softened butter to a bowl or freestanding mixer and beat till smooth. Gradually beat in the vanilla essence, almond essence, icing sugar and plant-based milk till fully incorporated, then beat for a further 1-2 minutes till fluffy. Place in a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle.
8. Core the centre of the cupcakes and fill with the Picota cherry compote filling. Pipe on the buttercream and top each cupcake with some extra compote and the juice, a whole Picota cherry, some chocolate and toasted almonds/coconut.
9. Enjoy straight away or keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. Best eaten at room temperature, and you can freeze them unfrosted and unfilled cupcakes for one month. The compote will keep for one week in a sealed container in the fridge.
No bake Picota Cherry Cheesecake bars
“Sweeten up your week with these dreamy no-bake Picota cherry cheesecake bars. Gluten and refined sugar-free and so simple to make! The base is made with dates, pecans, and buckwheat for a deliciously nutty flavour. The filling is rich, creamy, and fruity with cashews and vanilla and 2 cups of the juiciest Picota Cherries” – Bo’s Kitchen.
For the base:
- 1 cup Medjool dates
- 4 tbsp agave/maple syrup
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1.5 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup buckwheat
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Cashew vanilla filling:
- 2 cups cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 mins
- 1/3 cup agave/maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
For the Cherry filling:
- 2 cups of European Picota cherries, halved and pitted
- 3 tbsp agave/maple syrup
1. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper. Add all base ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until it forms a dough. Press evenly into a loaf tin and set aside to chill in the fridge.
2. Blend all cashew filling ingredients together for at least 8 minutes until super smooth and silky. Pour into a bowl and rinse out the blender.
3. Add most of the cherries and agave to the blender and process until smooth.
4. Spoon tablespoons of cashew vanilla and cherry filling onto the base and swirl the mixture with a chopstick to combine.
5. Top with remaining cherries and set aside to firm up in the freezer overnight. Let thaw for 20 mins before slicing and eating.
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