9.17.2010

On a Wing and a Chocolate Covered Ground Cherry

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

About 1.5 ounces high quality chocolate, of your choice, chopped into similar-sized pieces
1/2 pint ground cherries

Pull back the husks of the ground cherries but do not detach. Melt two-thirds of the chocolate in a microwave at 10 second intervals. (This is an easy way to temper chocolate so that it chocolate stays smooth and glossy. Though, I suppose if you are using gritty chocolate, it doesn't really matter much now does it?) When the microwaved chocolate is melted, add the reserved chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate is melted. Dip the ground cherries into the chocolate and allow to set.

Notes:
-It is recommended to heat the chocolate until 110 degrees. I've had a candy thermometer on my wish list for quite some time now. Sadly, I don't know that I'll ever be the kind of gal to take the temperature of chocolate before I eat it.

13 comments:

  1. That is a REALLY wonderful photo. I've only ever known them as husk cherries. Tomato, Tomahto.

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  2. Your photography is stunning. I've never tried a ground cherry before but I know I'll be picking some up at a farmers market soon because of your post!

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  3. pineapple and a very sweet cherry tomato rolled into one precious fruit?! Holy moly. I wish I could try them!

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  4. We call these husk cherries and I never would have thought to cover them with chocolate. That is really a great idea. I love the food and recipes you feature on your blog. It keeps me coming back. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  5. Beautiful, whimsical specimens!

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  6. They are definitely interesting little buggers ... "husk cherries" certainly has a nice ring to it!

    Thanks all!

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  7. I love the pics. Great use for ground cherries.

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  8. I am so glad to hear about these cherries and what they taste like! I didn't know they were even called cherries.

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  9. The husk cherry is a fruit with many names - I've always known them as Cape gooseberries.

    I'm impressed by your chocolate-dipping efforts. I've never succeeded at cooking with Cape gooseberries, because I have a bad habit of eating them all before they even make it home!

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  10. Glad to hear somebody else calls them gooseberries too! I believe I referred to them as such and was corrected by a nitpicky friend not that long ago. Will have to try them dipped in some gritty chocolate...

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  11. first of all, awesome title. secondly, although i'm unfamiliar with ground cherries, there's no way they could be rejected when prepared like this!

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  12. I've actually just placed my order for ground cherry seeds. They are unobtainable at markets here. Gotta grow them myself. They're so good, although I cannot begin to imagine what they'd taste like covered in chocolate.

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