Cherries and Cherry Pitters

Appears in
Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague

By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

  • About
Bing cherries are delicious to eat out of hand, but for baking, search out sour (sometimes called pie) cherries. Sour cherries have a tart flavor and firm texture that stand up to baking. They are light red and sometimes have a translucent cast. You’ll find them during their short season (early summer) at farmstands and farmers’ markets and some gourmet produce markets. You can substitute sweet Bing cherries, reducing the sugar in the recipe by one third.

If you cook with a lot of cherries (and when they’re in season I seem to make nothing but cherry desserts), you’ll need a good cherry pitter. The handheld models that look like a paper punch are adequate, but it still takes a lot of time to pit a couple of pounds of cherries. The best cherry pitter is a plastic box with a hopper and a plunger. The cherries are fed into the hopper and the plunger punches out the pits in a fraction of the time it takes with a handheld pitter. There is also a model without the box that attaches to the work counter with a clamp. The plunge-style cherry pitter is available at well-stocked kitchenware shops or by mail order from A Cook’s Wares and Sur La Table (Tools for the Cook). See Sources.