Sour-Cherry Savarins

sour cherry savarins
Photo: Yunhee Kim

Plump sour cherries capture the essence of early summer in this classic French dessert. Simmered in a sweetened wine syrup, the vibrant stone fruits create a sweet-tart topping that permeates and moistens each airy cake.


For the Savarins

  • 1 ⅛ teaspoons active dry yeast

  • ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for molds

For the Cherries and Glaze

  • 2 ½ cups fresh sour cherries, pitted (or 2 cups thawed frozen sour cherries)

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise or Sauternes

  • Pinch of salt


  1. Make the savarins: Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl, and add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Stir, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Mix together flour, salt, and remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar in a mixer bowl. Make a well in the center, and add yeast mixture and eggs. Beat on medium speed until a sticky and elastic dough forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter six 3 1/2-inch savarin molds, and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

  4. Add butter to dough, and beat on medium-high speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.

  5. Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch plain round tip. Pipe dough into molds, filling halfway. Let stand, uncovered, in a warm place until dough rises and almost fills the molds, 25 to 30 minutes.

  6. Bake savarins until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of molds, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly in molds for 5 minutes, and then invert onto wire racks.

  7. Make the cherries and glaze: Bring cherries, sugar, wine, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon. Simmer remaining liquid until reduced to a glaze (3/4 cup), about 5 minutes.

  8. Spoon glaze over warm cakes, and top with cherries. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

Savarins were originally baked in a large ring in 19th-century France but are commonly made in miniature. You can use either size mold or substitute an 8-inch (6-cup) Bundt pan. If making one larger cake, bake the savarin for 15 minutes. Sour cherries have an exceptionally short season in June and July, and are best when sweetened and cooked, rather than eaten out of hand.

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