Cherries instead of strawberries with rhubarb

I find myself with a surplus of rhubarb and cherries but not the best strawberries this season. I suppose cherries can be substituted for the strawberries in most strawberry/rhubrab combinations but I also expect it would call for less sugar as cherries, I think, tend to be sweeter than strawberries.

Has anyone tried this? Any words of advice? How should I adjust the sugar?

  • Posted by: Peter
  • June 13, 2012


Hilarybee June 13, 2012
Flavor wise, I think it would be lovely. But cherries have a lot of juice, so I'm thinking you may need to add either tapioca or corn starch if it is a pie or a cake. Just toss them lightly in the starch.

I think almond is a good suggestion, but if I were going to add extra flavor, I'd probably use thyme. I love the cherry and thyme flavor together. The rhubarb would add a touch of sourness. Sweet, sour, herb-y.
EmilyC June 13, 2012
Peter -- em-i-lis recently posted a recipe (see link below) for a rhubarb cherry hibiscus crumble that looks really delicious! She adds almonds to the crumble topping. As I commented to her, I'd never thought to combine rhubarb and cherries but think they'd taste amazing together. All things considered, I'll bet you can use about the same amount of sugar for a rhubarb-cherry combo as a rhubarb-strawberry one -- but it won't hurt to dial back a bit to be safe, as you say above.
Peter June 13, 2012
Emily, thanks so much! I took a look at the recipe and lo and behold, I had already saved it to my Food52 recipe list!

(I guess that's what happens when you work here and you love to cook -- everything looks so good you save over 70 recipes!)

I love the idea of the brown sugar too -- the caramel notes it adds sound really intriguing.
chefsusie June 13, 2012
Some cherries are more juicy than others. Bing are flavorful and fairly juicy. Van (light red kind of have a heart shape) are a bit more juicy. Rainer (yellow red) are less so. Now your making me want some fruit...hehehe Farmer's daughter that I am!
Peter June 13, 2012
No ide what kind they are -- they have that classic cherry appearance so likely Bing or Lampert.

(My own cherry trees are Montmorency but the yripened up so early this year that the birds got most the harvest. Damned mockingbirds!)
chefsusie June 13, 2012
I grew up on a Farm and regularly picked cherries and rhubarb. I would need to taste the cherries. If they are grocery store fare, they may be less sweeter than farm-fresh. I would also pit them and slice in half to allow natural sugars to come out when you sprinkle the fruit with sugar to create a juicy product. (maceration) Are you going to toss in some almond flavor? That may quite delightful.
Peter June 13, 2012
Almond flavor... that never occured to me. Nice! (I would use usually go with a splash of lemon.

And they're better than grocery store cherries -- they're from the farmer's market and I (literally) cherry-picked the best ones (darkest) from the bin -- so they're pretty sweet. :-)

I guess I macerate, go light with the sugar, cook with the rhubrab and then add sugar at the end if it seems to tart/sour.
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