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Kentish Cherries. The Best!

By Lyn Funnell

While driving along, we saw a sign beside the road saying English Cherries.

A few yards further on, we pulled into a layby where the cherries were being sold from a van.

In 43 AD when the Romans arrived in Kent, they found wild cherries growing there. Later they imported the sweet, cultivated versions.

The Romans were given cherries as part of their rations. And the number of cherry trees is blamed on the Romans spitting out the stones.

Kent is known as the Garden of England and produces most of the country’s cherries throughout the Summer.

At the start of the 20th century Kent had more than 5,000 cherry orchards. By the end of the century there were less than 600. But the good news is planting is increasing every year. The Kentish cherries are making a comeback!

My bag of cherries came from Mount Ephraim Gardens, Hernhill, Faversham, Kent. ME13 9TX.

I have an invitation to visit them soon. Their cherry season is over and they’re picking plums now.

Meanwhile, here’s a recipe for a dish I made with some of the cherries;

KENTISH CHERRY BATTER PUDDING

3 tblsps Kirsch, or Cherry Brandy.

I didn’t have any, so I used Sherry.

450g/1lb pitted cherries.

You don’t have to be exactly accurate with the weight.

50g/2ozs plain flour

50g/20zs caster sugar.

I didn’t have any so I used granulated sugar.

2 eggs, separated.

300ml/half a pint milk

75g/3ozs melted butter.

Sprinkle the kirsch over the cherries. Leave them to soak for about 30 minutes, turning them in the juice a few times. Mix the flour & sugar together, then slowly stir in the egg yolks & milk until it becomes a smooth batter. Add half the melted butter. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7.

Pour the remaining butter into a 600ml/pint dish & spread it round the sides.

Put it in the oven to heat.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold them into the batter with the cherries and kirsch.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish & bake for approx. 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Bake for a further 20 minutes, until golden & set in the centre.

It will still have a slight wobble.

Serve hot either on its own or with custard, cream or ice-cream.

It’s also nice served cold the following day.

Author

  • Lyn Funnell