Visit Sarajevo’s open-air markets, and you will see bins upon bins overflowing with fresh produce of the season. On summer mornings when I was there, I would often buy bags of deep-red sour cherries in exchange for a few coins, and take a long stroll back up the hill to my house. By the time I got home, the cherries would be nearly gone, and my fingers would be stained red; I wonder now if there are new cherry trees sprouting up along my trail of nearly a decade ago.
Sour cherries apparently have sleep-inducing properties, as does the spice coriander. I wanted to create a dessert that wasn’t overly sweet or heavy, so I tried making a buckle, which traditionally features plums. Here the sour cherries give the cake a nice tartness and the coriander adds depth. I did have a good night’s sleep after this dessert, and it was just as good the next morning with coffee.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp (plus more for buttering pan)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. ground coriander (coriander seed, not what Americans call cilantro)
2 Tbs. greek yogurt
About 30 sour cherries, halved and pitted
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon + 1 Tbs. sugar for topping
Directions: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F (180 C). Butter a round 9-inch spring-form cake pan (regular cake pan would work too).
In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, each time incorporating into the mixture. Add the coriander and yogurt and mix; then add the flour mixture and mix well. Fold in 2/3 of the cherries.
Pour the batter into the buttered pan and spread gently with a spatula. Poke more cherries into the spaces in the batter. Combine the cinnamon and 1 Tbs. sugar and sprinkle over the surface. Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden and set; insert a toothpick and check that it comes out clean. Set on a rack; when it stops steaming, serve slightly warm.
Prijatno (enjoy!) and laku noc (good night).