Friske Orchards cherry recipe event is always a bright spot in my year: the table is dressed in red-and-white gingham, the parade of creative cherry dishes from Up North home cooks are delicious, the prizes are dreamy. (First prize is $100, a night’s stay at Black Star Farms or the Jordan Inn, and a Friske Orchards cherry goodie bag!) This year’s categories were Chutney/Compotes and Cobblers/Crisps/Puddings. I represented Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine at Friske Farm Market  February 23rd  as a guest judge with Ron Jolly from WTCM radio, Pete Peterson from Tapawingo and Babette Stenuis from the Petoskey News Review. It was a tough call deciding the winners, but here are the delectable first place recipes.—Emily Betz Tyra

Cherry Date Chutney
From Gayle Gennett of Charlevoix.

1 tablespoon olive oil1 shallot
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried dates
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar2 cups cherry wine

Saute chopped shallot in olive oil in deep frying pan or saucepan until shallot is softened. Add one cup of dried cherries. Add one cup of dried dates (chopped in half or quarters). Add apple cider vinegar. Saute for one minute.Add 2 cups of cherry wine and simmer until liquid is evaporated (about 30 minutes).

Once the liquid is evaporated, it is ready to serve or store in the refrigerator.

Serving suggestions:  It can be served as a side to pork or chicken or baked in the oven on sliced sourdough bread with goat cheese at 350ª for five minutes as an appetizer.Serves six.

Cherry Dump Pudding
From Debbie Rhoads of Williamsburg.

1 cup flour1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sour cherries (may use frozen)1 cup Friske’s Cherry Juice

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl; add milk, vanilla and unsalted butter; beat with hand mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Spread into a greased & floured 8-x-8-inch pan.  Spread cherries evenly over top of batter.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cherry juice to a simmer, add the 1/4 cup sugar and stir until dissolved, slowly pour over cherries.  Bake at 375ªF for 40-50 minutes.

Serves 6–8.