Chokecherry Coulis Over La Luna

The pairing of flavors in this appetizer is perfect for a mid- to late-summer evening soirée. The slightly astringent character of the chokecherry is mellowed by luscious raw honey. Drizzle the sweet and tart coulis over creamy soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese like Luna, an interpretation of Brie by Reverie Creamery, an artisan cheesemaker in Mayville, NY. The cheese will be the perfect temperature if it’s placed on a cheese board an hour before guests arrive.

 

Fresh tart cherries can be substituted for the wild chokecherries in this recipe. Tart cherry varieties are a bit larger and can be pitted fresh with a cherry pitter, which may be more convenient. Chokecherry pits contain poisonous cyanide, or hydrocyanic acid, and swallowing a few may make you sick. However, they can be safely avoided if you handle them carefully. The safe method of pitting these cherries is also practical for wild or domestic tart cherries. Eating a chokecherry pit is never recommended, but cooking them will destroy the cyanide when you make this coulis, a jam or chutney.

 

A coulis typically calls for a sugar-like sweetener and lemon juice. You can add lemon juice or zest, but not much is needed with the tartness of these stone fruits. The honey acts as the sweetener in this coulis.

 

This recipe was inspired when my wild edible expert friend Harold Reynolds arrived moments before dinner with a surprise ingredient: cooked and pitted wild chokecherries. With phyllo cups, cheese and local raw honey on hand, a truly wild last-minute menu idea took center stage.

By | June 01, 2017

Instructions

1.  Remove stems and rinse cherries with cold water. Add cherries to a pot. Add enough water to cover the cherries. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft.

2.  Gently mash the soft cherries and pour through a fine-mesh strainer or double-layered cheesecloth to remove skins and pits.

3.  Cut cheese into bite-sized portions and place on a crostini or in baked phyllo cups.

4.  Drizzle each with honey and then cherry syrup.

5.  Zest lemon over the platter or tray of appetizers, salt to taste and serve.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 7-8 ounce round of Luna cheese by Reverie Creamery. May be substituted with a Brie.
  • 2 cups chokecherries or tart cherries
  • 2-3 ounces local raw honey
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 24 phyllo cups (found already made in many grocery freezer sections near piecrusts
  • 1 teaspoon coarse flaky sea salt
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