Cherries as Still Life

Fresh, seasonal fruit is always so beautiful. I didn’t know what I wanted to make with them, but I spied them at the Nicollet farmer’s market last Thursday and knew I had to have them.

The holiday weekend meant BBQing with friends, and I had a craving for cake (not surprising), but since I’m trying to do this thing where I don’t eat everything and anything I want (strange, I know), I decided to compromise: angel food cake is fat-free, but it’s still cake, so I picked some up at the store. This also meant that I could use the cherries in place of strawberries for “cherry shortcake.” Add a dollop of Lite Cool Whip and it’s a diet-friendly (and easy!) prelude into summer.

Cherry Shortcakes
1 pint cherries, pitted and de-stemmed
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 store-bought angel food cake
Lite Cool Whip (or other whipped cream product)

In a small- to medium-bowl (you shouldn’t need much to hold the ingredients, but a bigger space will give you space to handle it a little more roughly), combine the cherries with the lemon zest and juice; macerate the mixture until you’re satisfied with the texture. I like a good mix of large, medium, and completely mushed chunks in my shortcake topping. I used a mixing beater because it was handy, but forks, a potato-masher, or other similar utensil would work too.

Add the macerated cherries to a small saucepan with the cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring to keep the heat even. Remove from heat when the fruit has broken down sufficiently, about 5-7 minutes. Serve over sliced angel food cake, top with Cool Whip (or other whipped cream).

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