Using up more of our preserved wild edibles from the pantry:
|Wonderfully dark and ripe, yet small black cherries|
Traditional Hungarian Zserbo cake is a yeasted dough alternating with layers of apricot jam and ground walnuts, topped with a chocolate glaze. This Zserbo cake is made with two layers of wild black cherry jam and one layer of apricot jam.
While wild black cherries (Prunus serotina ) are small, in good years they can be easily collected in great quantities. Black cherry trees are possibly one of the most common trees east of the Appalachians since we lost the American chestnuts to blight in the early 1900's. Their flavor raw is quite tart; they should only be collected when ripe and nearly black. I hand pit them for jam by squeezing each cherry--the pits are too large for to send them through the food mill. They can also be cooked a bit and strained to get the stones out. The juice can then be used to make a spectacular ice cream, fruity syrup, made into jelly or jam, and used as the flavor for a fruit mousse filling in a cake. Wild black cherries also make a nice dry wine with an appealing dark color!
|Flowers on a black cherry tree|