Amarena

 
Amarena is a specific variety of cherry basically of Italian origin. It is a small, dark colored, somewhat sour tasting cherry that is cultivated in the Bologna and Modena regions of Italy. These fresh cherries are generally picked, cleaned, bottled in syrup and used as popular decoration in commercial cakes and desserts.  
 
History
 
The Amarena range of cherries has been developed by a gentleman, Gennaro Fabbri who was born in Bologna, Italy in the year 1869. Over a period of time, he started the commercial production of cherry and many cherry related products in the early 19th century around 1905, under the brand name of Fabbri. As a matter of fact, ‘The Fabbri company’ still continues to be family owned and produces a number of natural cherry based products such as pastries, preserves, syrups and beverages.
 
Uses
 
A number of interesting recipe options are available in which Amarena is used effectively and many a times innovatively too.
 
Amarena Cherry & Dark Chocolate Clafoutis
 
Since cherries in clafoutis are a time-honored, classic traditional manner of treating cherries, the same has been made use of in this classic recipe too. 
 
Ingredients
 

  • eggs
  • heavy cream
  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • light brown sugar
  • salt
  • all purpose flour, sifted
  • butter and white sugar for greasing/dusting
  • Amarena cherries, drained of syrup
  • dark chocolate for grating
  • confectioner’s sugar, for garnish (optional)

 
Method 
 
In a blender, eggs, heavy cream, flavouring extracts, sugar and salt are blended together.  Next sifted flour is added and blended until flour is incorporated and no lumps remain. The batter is allowed to rest in the refrigerator for a while. The Oven is pre-heated.
 
The ramekins (small individual baking dishes) are greased and lightly dusted with sugar and placed on a large baking tray.  The cherries are distributed evenly between the ramekins and then batter evenly poured into each.  Dark chocolate may be grated over each.
 
The baking tray is placed in the oven and baked until slightly browned. It is then removed and allowed to cool slightly before serving. A dusting with powdered sugar may be done, if desired.
 
Moreover, Amarena is used as an attractive garnish or a decoration and used as a finishing touch in most recipes, such as –
 

  • Amarena Ice Cream Sundae – A German Ice –cream Sundae with Amarena Cherries and Almond topping.
  • Crespelle (i.e. crepes) with sweet ricotta and amarena cherries – is an Italian version of crepes that showcases the true beauty of Amarena cherries.

 
Nutritional Perspective
 
In general cherries, the Amarena cherry included, are regarded as a super food, high in antioxidants, with protective benefits against many degenerative diseases.
 
Amarena cherries are particularly low in calories (high in water content) and fat and thus would make for a healthy addition to any diet. Each cherry supplies ~ 4 calories; and a cup provides ~ 74 calories. Several studies have proven that these cherries help reduce risk of cancers as well as inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Further, eating Amarena cherries has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease owing to cholesterol and body weight-lowering effects. They contain melatonin which aids in attaining sound sleep and bestows a more youthful radiant look by slowing down the process of aging.
 
On consuming the Amarena cherry, along with the highly beneficial disease-fighting antioxidants, Vitamin C and beta-carotene; high levels of other important mineral nutrients such as potassium may be acquired, that aids in blood pressure regulation.
 
A healthy recipe -
 

Oatmeal with Italian Cherries & Toasted Almonds

 
·        homemade oatmeal mix
·        almond milk or other milk
·        ground golden flaxseed
·        amarena cherries in syrup
·        toasted sliced almonds
 
Oatmeal mix and milk are mixed and microwaved on high heat until the milk is absorbed and the oats are thickened to desired consistency. The flaxseed, cherries and almonds are sprinkled on top in good measure before serving hot.
 
 
 
 
 

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