With many shops facing a shortage of strawberries, maybe it’s time to give one of Spain’s favourites a try – Picota cherries?
Grown exclusively in western Spain’s beautiful Jerte Valley, Picota cherries are uniquely fresh and sweet and only available from mid-June to the end of July. The stalkless cherries are smaller than other cherries, but what they lack in size, they certainly make up for in flavour. Delicious straight from the bowl and with a little vanilla ice cream, Picota cherries also work wonderfully in this stunning recipe. Combining the sweet, vanilla taste of white chocolate, with the juicy, rich flavour of Picota cherries, this luscious dessert is light, moist and ever-so more-ish. Incredibly easy to make, this gourmet dessert is sure to go down a storm with everyone!
Picota Cherry Loaf with White Chocolate Frosting
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 12 slices
225g butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
375g Picota cherries, halved and stoned
175g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
100g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
140g half-fat mascarpone
White chocolate curls and fresh Picota cherries, to decorate
Heat oven to 180Cº/fan 160C/gas 4. Line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment, making sure the paper comes up higher than the sides. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the eggs, a little at a time, along with the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour until you have a smooth mixture.
Dust the cherries in a little flour, then carefully stir half of the fruit and chocolate into the mixture. Spoon into the prepared tin, then scatter the remaining cherries and chocolate on top, pressing them in lightly. Bake for 1 hr 10 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few mins, then turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Remove the marscapone from the fridge to come to room temperature. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Quickly stir in 1 tbsp of the marscapone, then beat in the rest (be careful not to overbeat the mixture or it will go grainy). Spread over the top of the loaf and finish with white chocolate curls and fresh Picota cherries.