Organic Cherries Fresh From The Tree
These cherry ricotta cheese turnovers are so good you will wonder what took you so long to swap out the cream cheese for ricotta cheese. The flavoured ricotta cheese in this recipe makes the filling so creamy and the texture blends well with the sweetness of the organic cherries. I created an easy cherry pie filling with the abundance of cherries we had in our house fresh from the tree. I’m sure there are many turnover recipes out there but nothing like this cherry turnover that is stuffed full of ricotta goodness.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make with the cherry pie filling but I wanted to make something more spectacular than a cherry pie or a cherry tart recipe. If you have cherries in your house and you want to make easy turnovers, this is the recipe for you. Don’t be boring, be fun in the kitchen and experiment. Even if it fails, oh well that’s the way we learn, or at least I learn.
The longest part of the entire recipe was making the marshmallow cream (which I had from making Twinkies) and pitting the cherries. If you don’t want to use a homemade marshmallow cream you can easily drizzle with a homemade vanilla icing. If you don’t fancy ricotta (which I highly recommend you use) you can make cream cheese turnovers by substituting the products.
What kinds of cherries are there?
Apparently there are over 1000 varieties of cherries out there, who knew. The cherry is a stone fruit which means you will find a pit in the centre. That means if you don’t fancy one there is bound to be one cherry that you just can’t get enough of. The top producing country as of 2009 for cherries was Turkey with the USA coming in second place and Canada in twenty-third spot. There are two species of cherries, sweet (Prunus avium) and sour/tart (Prunus cerasus)
It’s July now and the cherries in Ontario are red, juicy and crying to be picked and eaten from the tree. The picture above is from the tree that we picked our cherries from. Although I prefer the black cherry for even more sweetness the red cherries that I used in this recipe work just as equal although I had to add some sugar to the pie filling.
The cherry like I mentioned is a fruit that can either be sweet or sour and has many uses from making pies to jellies, jams, sauces and a variety of baked goods. Most people tend to use the sour cherry for baking, cooking and preserves although both work just as well in my opinion.
Note: This is not a full list of cherries but many common names.
- Rainier Cherries
- Van cherry
- Spanish Cherry
- Choke Cherry
- North Star
- Black Cherry
You can read more about these cherries here from the Okanagan in British Columbia along with picking instructions and how to store cherries.
What do you make with your cherries?
While at the relatives for Canada Day we were lucky to pick organic cherries from the trees on their property. It took me a while but I finally stopped Mrs. CBB long enough to actually put cherries in the bowl rather in her mouth. Although they are organic you have to be very careful when eating anything organic because the worms love to get inside and enjoy all the goodness of the fruit.
It took me about one hour to pit and go through every cherry to make sure they were worm-free and I cleaned them under cold water. I’ll admit I found a few so make sure you are thorough when cleaning unless you don’t mind a bit of extra protein. Just think of all the fun flavours you get when you buy it straight from the manufacturer, lol.
Making cherry pie filling
How to make homemade cherry pie filling?
I then added the cleaned cherries to a pot with the sugar, lime peel and lime juice and cooked the cherries down for about 5-10 minutes. You will see that the cherry juices will release fairly quickly and the cherries will soften. At that point I mixed my cornstarch and water and then mixed it in the pot. With-in a few minutes you will find that the cherry pie filling will thicken in the pot. You can then just turn off your stove and let the mixture cool as you need it to be cold for this recipe. It’s a fairly easy process which would be similar to thickening many soups and sauces.
I’m sure one day when we look to buy a second property with more land I’ll be planting apple trees, pear trees, black cherry trees, peach trees, fig trees and so on. You can only begin to imagine how much we love to garden and why organic is important to us bit only if we are the farmers behind the wheel.
The cost in the grocery store for organic produce far exceeds our grocery budget although when the price is right we waste no time at all to stock up on our favourite fruits and veg. In the summer we make full use of our property space to grow our own organic vegetables so we can store them for winter use as well in our freezer.
The ricotta cheese filling is fairly straight-forward to make. I made this in advance while the cherry pie filling was cooking so I can chill it in the refrigerator. This is a sweet ricotta filling but not too sweet since the cherries are sweet enough. I put the ricotta in a bowl and then added in pure vanilla, powdered sugar, egg, milk, almond extract, honey, cinnamon and Greek yogurt then mixed it until smooth.
How to make pastry?
I didn’t make this cherry turnover recipe with a puff pastry recipe but rather used a simple pie pastry because I didn’t want to complicate the recipe too much. Keeping it simple and using what most people have in their pantry was where I was aiming with this recipe.
I love a cherry cheese Danish and although I can’t call this a Danish I’ve turned it into a cherry ricotta cheese turnover that you will never forget. It’s an easy turnover recipe that you can whip up when you plan a dinner party and can make it a day in advance. You can eat these cherry turnovers cold or hot.
For this recipe I simply used the same pastry that I created when I made my coconut custard tarts. It’s an easy pastry recipe that I find works just as well for any basic pastry recipe I need. All the information for the pastry is in the link above.
Once the pastry was ready I sprinkled some flour on my surface and rolled out the pastry into a circle but my goal was to make a square. I’m not a creative pastry chef so I just went ahead and did the best I could to square the pastry. I then ran a knife through it to create the triangle shape I needed for the turnover.
Filling the pastry
This was a tricky part I have to admit. Once I had the dough cut into the triangle I proceeded to put a bit of the ricotta cheese in the centre and then topped it with cherry pie filling. Now, be careful and don’t do what I did and over-fill the pastry or it will ooze out everywhere. The above was just enough. You can easily eye-ball how much you need depending on how big you roll our and cut your pastry.
I then took one point of the pastry and connected it with the other. I used a fork to seal around the edges to make sure none of the filling would come out during baking. I suggest making slits with a knife through the top so the steam has somewhere to go while cooking otherwise your turnover might burst. I then used an egg yolk to brush the tops of the turnovers before putting them on a silpat and into a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes or golden brown.
How to make marshmallow cream?
Once they came out from the oven I let them cool on the baking sheet before I moved on to the next step, putting the marshmallow cream on top.
I drizzled the top of the pastry with the same homemade marshmallow cream I used to fill my Twinkies which makes it even easier since I had extras in the freezer. The Twinkie cream lasts a long time in the freezer and when you take it out it’s not solid it’s still fairly easy to get a spoon into. I scooped up a few tablespoons and put them in a bowl so I could microwave the marshmallow cream topping until it was soft and easy to decorate with.
The marshmallow cream takes a bit of time but is worth the effort. All the ingredients and directions are available in my Twinkie recipe. <<<<Click the link.
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees
Note: Pastry recipe and marshmallow cream recipe are linked above.
Ingredients for cherry pie filling
- 2 cups of pitted, cleaned, sweet cherries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Rind of one lime
- 2 teaspoons of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon cold water mixed
- In a pot add your cherries, lime rind, lime juice, sugar and honey and let reduce on med-high until the cherries are soft.
- In a small bowl add your water and cornstarch and mix together to combine
- Add in the cornstarch mixture to the cherry filling in your pot and continue stirring until the mixture is thick
- Remove from stove and cool before use.
Ingredients for ricotta cheese filling
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt (plain)
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and ready for use.
Follow all the instructions above to put this cherry ricotta cheese turnover recipe together and enjoy!!
What are your favourite cherry recipes?
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