This Big Fork, Montana cherry orchard has been in the Morelli Family for over 40 years. Michael, today's owner, spent all of his Summers as a child pruning, cultivating, and harvesting the fruit which led to him taking over the orchard as an adult. The Flathead Valley in Montana is very unique with its seasons because of the climate produced by Flathead lake; the cherries grow like nowhere else. The cherries provided by Morelli Farms are primarily produced from Lambert, Lapin, and a few Rainier trees. We hope your family enjoys these cherries as much as our family has over the last 3 generations.
When selecting cherries, light green firm stems indicate the fruit is fresh. Cherries will mold quickly at room temperature so they should be kept refrigerated. To determine how many pounds of cherries you need for a particular recipe because of how cherries vary in size, you can use the following formula: 1 pound (with pits) = about 3 cups, 1 pound (pitted) = 2 to 2½ cups.
4 cups pitted cherries
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese (can use low-fat)
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ cups whipped topping
½ angel food cake — purchased or homemade
Directions: To make cherry filling: Place pitted cherries in bowl; sprinkle granulated sugar over cherries; stir to combine. Let set about 30–45 minutes, until juices begin to flow. Drain juice that has formed off cherries along with any sugar that has not dissolved into a microwave-safe bowl. Add enough water to make 1 cup liquid. Whisk in cornstarch. Microwave on High 1 minute; remove from microwave and whisk. Continue microwaving mixture at short intervals, removing and whisking until mixture is boiling and thickened. Stir in pitted cherries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Return to microwave and continue cooking until mixture returns to boil. Stir mixture, return to microwave and continue cooking for 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Cherry mixture can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble trifle if desired.
To prepare cream filling: Soften cream cheese; beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in milk and 4 tablespoons lemon juice until well combined. Fold in whipped topping until mixture is smooth. To assemble trifle, cut angel food cake into 1-inch cubes. Place layer of cake cubes into clear glass bowl. Spread a layer of cherry filling over cubes, about the same thickness of cake and using about 1/3 of filling. Top with half of the cream filling; repeat layers. If desired individual trifles can be created in parfait glasses. Chill at least 4 hours before serving. If desired, top with additional cherries or slivered almonds. Recipe Courtesy of Montana Standard
Take advantage of the cherries from Morelli Farms while they are available in store and freeze them for later use. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread pitted cherries in a single layer. After they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to six to nine months. Measure frozen cherries before thawing.