Everyone needs a little whimsy. I recently found some in the ground cherry. Ground cherries are those little Chinese lantern-looking fruits that appear at farmers’ markets in August and September.
I held off buying them for years because I found them perplexing. What were they hiding inside their papery shells? Also, they made me feel bad. You tear their poor little husks back and then what? The cherry is gone in an instant. The whole husk removal process made me feel like I was tearing off angels’ wings. I have enough to worry about without having to fret that I am stirring up trouble in the cherub community.
Then I tasted them. It was like a pineapple and a very sweet cherry tomato got together and had a love child that they wanted to keep a secret. Ground cherries may come all wrapped up, but I can’t keep quiet about them. They are ethereal.
Much like the lemon-ginger mousse coupe I had at Myers + Chang earlier this week. I have practically been stopping strangers on the street to spread the lemon-ginger gospel. Tasting it was like eating a cloud of lemon meringue pie.
The mousse also came with a homemade fortune cookie. You don’t get much more whimsical than that. My fortune: he who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at. Ha!
Joanne Chang’s fanciful dessert (and fortune) must have inspired me because I decided to hold the ground cherries I recently bought by their wings and dip them into chocolate. I used Taza chocolate because I love it and because it is the only chocolate I keep around.
Their factory in Somerville, Massachusetts uses authentic, hand-chiseled Mexican stone mills to grind the cacao they purchase (fairly and responsibly) from farmers. This makes for lovely chocolate. Their granite millstones also make for chocolate with a slightly gritty texture that doesn’t lend itself well to certain baking projects. One could argue it’s probably not practical to have Taza as my “house chocolate.” (To which I reply, since when is chocolate practical?) So on a wing and a prayer, I dipped the ground cherries into Taza’s gritty chocolate.
It worked, but it wasn’t optimal and I’d probably recommend a different chocolate if you are going to try this. Though, you have to love a product with an ingredient list like this:
Ingredients: organic roasted cacao beans, organic cane sugar and organic vanilla bean.
So the ground cherries took a little bath in some pretty pure stuff. Sure, you can see they have a little bit of texture to their bottoms, but this is chocolate dipped fruit we are talking about. Best to keep it light and keep your brow unfurled.
It turns out in the end, the ground cherries held their own little husked maxim: he who laughs at his own chocolate covered ground cherries laughs often (and eats well).Chocolate Covered Ground Cherries