Welcome to SAVEUR’s column on how to cook local produce according to our test kitchen manager, Fatima Khawaja. This is where you’ll find creative, unfussy meal ideas plus plenty of cooking advice—like what to do with that bumper crop of zucchini or how to store delicate heirloom tomatoes. Every other week, Fatima hits the farmers market and chooses a peak-season ingredient to explore in depth. Follow along, and you’ll learn how to turn the season’s bounty into easy plant-based meals that’ll be on the table in under an hour.
When cherries arrive, they come in abundance. Cardboard boxes overflow with the deep red stone fruit, all plump and juicy with their bendy stems attached. Whether I'm at the farmers market or the grocery, I often secretly taste one to gauge whether they’re ripe enough to buy. Those that pass muster often wind up in a galette, a freeform tart made with pie crust. Cherries are perfect for galettes because they don’t burst or make a mess during baking. Instead they bubble and thicken. What’s not to like about jammy fruit surrounded by sweet, salty, buttery crust?
Cherries come in many colors and types. Sour cherries, which are best for baking, are lighter red than their sweet counterparts, which can be almost black (though some are pinkish yellow). Sweet cherries are more widely available than sour and are sublime in desserts as well—simply lower the sugar accordingly.
When cherries are in season—or on sale!—I buy them in bulk and preserve or freeze (pitted and sealed in a plastic bag) what I don’t use. Thawed and simmered cherries are wonderful for topping ice cream and cakes, and in savory dishes such as this pork belly with buttered corn and cherry-jalapeño relish or this sweet and sour sauce served alongside barbecue chicken.
Galettes are great to bring to a picnic or to a friend’s house. They keep well in the fridge and require minimal baking skills. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, I encourage you to venture into savory galettes, like this one filled with pancetta and gruyere.
For the crust:
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
For the filling:
- 2 lb. cherries, stemmed, pitted, and halved (4 cups)
- ⅓ cup dark brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract, or the seeds from 1 split and scraped vanilla bean
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 1 large egg