I made a little opera discovery this week.
Now, it has to be said that I am cherry crazy. I buy them all through the season, no matter the price and get through the off season with cherry yogurt, frozen cherries, candied cherries and my coffee cake with dried cherries and almonds.
So, when I discovered this long lost CD last week, something caught my eye: “The Cherry Duet”.
The CD is “The Best Opera Album in the World Ever”. It used to be advertised on late night TV and I have to say, now that I look at it 20 years later, it’s still a great collection of opera hits!
But, I had never heard of Mascagni’s Cherry Duet. Apparently it’s a popular concert piece from an opera you don’t hear too much about: Friend Fritz. Finding the translation of this duet was not straight forward, but I finally came across a clip with a few subtitles that fizzled out half way though. Basically the man and woman talk about the fruit, the flowers, the birds…. Anything but the fact that they are in love with each other -though this is so obvious to us as the audience!
This is not my video (obviously) just what I found on Youtube.
Meanwhile here’s my cherry coffee cake recipe
Cherry Almond Coffee Cake- makes one 9” round
(I like everything low sugar and whole grain… you don’t have to do it that way of course!)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular flour)
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup skim milk
¼ cup low sugar baking mix such as Splenda (or 1/2 cup sugar)
½ tsp. salt
4T. vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1tsp. almond extract
¾ cup sliced (NOT Slivered) almonds
3/4 cup dried cherries. Snip them in half if they are large and soak in a little hot water for a few minutes. Drain.
Mix all ingredients-except almonds - together in medium bowl with wooden spoon till combined. Spray a 9” round cake layer pan with cooking spray and pour in batter. Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top.
Let sit for 20 minutes. (Whole wheat flour requires some extra time to absorb the liquids.) Bake at 350’ for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Watch it carefully, it can get dry if overcooked. But that’s OK you’ll just want more tea with it.
Get creative. This can take fresh, frozen or dried blueberries or cranberries instead or it can even just be a plain cinnamon coffee cake. Do vanilla instead of almond extract. Add lemon or orange zest. Or top with a streusel. It’s very flexible.