summer cheese board | three ways to use sour cherries

If you've been to the farmer's market recently, you might notice that sour cherries are abundant. The next question is, what exactly can you do with these things? Well, I have three options for you. I was super inspired by these beauties and couldn't kick the idea of incorporating them in different ways for a large summery spread, probably because I am anxiously awaiting our first chance to host a get together in our new space. If your summer entertaining routine is feeling stagnant, or maybe you could just really use a cheese plate, (summer salads be damned) these options surely have you covered.

Sour cherries are quite tart, but in a nice, still sort of sweet way. I love them on their own but they're definitely not going to suit everyone's palettes, which is why working them into a cheese spread, shortbread, or compote lets their tartness shine without overpowering your tastebuds. This particular batch we got at the market didn't make me pucker as much as I thought I would, but still I was ready to brainstorm all the delicious ways to balance and showcase such a strong flavor. Enter... my good friend the cheese plate.

The crowd pleaser of all crowd pleasers, it's actually impossible to go wrong when you present a giant board of snacks that mostly act as a vehicle for the star of the show. When I'm putting together any sort of cheese plate/board/etc, I'm usually all over the map, gravitating towards sweet, sour, creamy, crunchy, all the things that round the spread out and make whoever is partaking want to mix and match everything. In the name of taste testing, we pretty much devoured it all, as we layered all the different flavors together. Whether any of this is feeling inspiring for your next get together, or just a fancy night in, I very much suggest snatching these lovelies up while they're still in season. 


Sour Cherry
Cheese Spread

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
8 oz. sour cherries, pitted and quartered

  • Using a stand or electric mixer, whip the cream cheese for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.
  • Carefully fold in cherries.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight before serving. 


Sour Cherry + Bourbon Compote

16 oz. sour cherries, pitted and halved
1 cup water
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 sugar

  • Using a non-reactive sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine water bourbon and sugar. Stir frequently for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly reduced.
  • Add cherries and reduce heat to low.
  • Continue cooking on low for 10-15 more minutes, until the mixture is further reduced.
  • Set aside to cool completely.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight before serving.  

Sour Cherry Shortbreads

1/2 cup fresh sour cherries, pitted and halved
1 1/4 cups oat flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons raw sugar, +1 tablespoon for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

  • To begin, prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until a soft dough forms.
  • In teaspoon sized increments, begin rolling the cookies into balls and place on parchment. Press down slightly to flatten the top. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon raw sugar evenly across all of the cookies.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown, and firm to the touch. 
  • Cool completely before serving.