It never fails. Every time cherry season rolls around, it takes me back to being a little girl. I’d spend all day outside when the weather began to warm and the daylight lasted well past dinner time. I loved to play in my playhouse that sat all the way at the back end of our yard. Just on the edge of our property, our neighbor had a cherry tree. I’d watch as the tree would bloom into a billion beautiful flowers that would eventually “snow” onto my playhouse, then transform into ripe, juicy, tart cherries! Ahhhh…I know, and I knew that they were the neighbor’s, but they were calling me! I mean, they were five feet away from my playhouse! And when you’re out there all day, you get hungry. And quite honestly, if I didn’t eat them, I’m pretty sure the only other thing that would were the birds! Soooo, I’d squeeze through a row of bushes, stand there completely still, like a spy, surveying their yard. As soon as I was sure no one was around, I’d climb into their tree, picking cherries as fast as I could, stuffing them into my shirt (and mouth), then I’d jump down and run into my playhouse…to devour them all myself! I’m not sure my Mom knew I was doing that, or if anyone knew. Well…I guess they do now. So, Mr. and Mrs. R….I’m sorry.

Fresh Cherry and Almond Paste Scones

These scones came to be through lots of inspiration. First, I’ve had a can of almond paste in my pantry for a month or so and I’ve been trying to decide how I wanted to use it. I love the classic combination of cherries and almond. I wondered how the almond paste would work in a scone. While doing some investigating I found that it’s been done…and quite beautifully (see Notes below). But, I wanted to reign in the loads of butter and fat that usually accompany scones. Almond paste is already high in fat, it’s a good fat, but it’s still fat. So, in developing this I use the almond paste as the butter. It works beautifully. These scones are sweet, but not overly so. They are tender, yet the almond paste adds a rich flavor that you cannot get without it. Then, the fresh cherries, with their sweetness and tartness, all at once. Ahhh…I’m in love with these scones!

Fresh Cherry and Almond Paste Scones

I was fortunate to have received a package from OXO of summer fruit tools! I’ve got lots of great posts coming up in the next few weeks (one of them is a refreshing cocktail!).  For this recipe, I used their Good Grips Cherry/Olive Pitter. If you’ve ever pitted cherries with a pitter, you may know how messy and inconsistent that can be. Juice splatters everywhere and sometimes the pit comes out…and sometimes it doesn’t! I was impressed with this one! The pit easily popped out and with the clear splatter guard, there was very little mess. The pitter washes up in the dishwasher and locks closed to keep in your drawers. And…it’s my favorite color, red.

OXO Cherry Pitter
Fresh Cherry and Almond PasteSconesCherriesLarge

Fresh Cherry and Almond Paste Scones

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour + more for rolling out
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounce can almond paste
1 large egg
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 teaspoon for brushing on top (regular milk is fine too)
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
1 – 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or a scant tablespoon of regular sugar)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pulse several times to mix. Add the almond paste and pulse until combined with the flour. In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly and add the milk. While running the processor, stream in the milk mixture until the mixture becomes one.

The dough will be a bit wet, so prepare your counter by spreading a sheet of parchment (about the size of your baking sheet) down on the counter. Generously flour the parchment. Carefully remove the dough from the processor bowl and dump it onto the floured surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. On one half of the rectangle, spread the chopped cherries. Using the parchment to help you, fold the other half over to form a square-ish loaf. Press down, just lightly. Brush the top with a bit of almond milk and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Lightly score the top into 12 to 16 pieces. Do not cut all the way through. Remove excess flour from the parchment. Lifting the parchment from the sides, move the loaf onto a baking sheet.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool for as long as you can stand it…then cut through the squares and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!

Fresh Cherry and Almond Paste Scones
Fresh Cherry and Almond Paste Scones

Notes:

  • This recipe was inspired by this gorgeous recipe for Cherry Marzipan Scones by The Bojon Gourmet.
  • This dough is quite delicate and may seem difficult to work with. Using flour generously on your board helps and try not to overwork it. Roll it out without trying to mess with it too much. It’s not meant to be perfect. It’s homemade!
  • If you’d like to purchase this OXO Cherry Pitter, you can get one here.