RECIPE: CHERRY RIPE BALLS


This is one of my most treasured recipes because of its popularity among the local house wives in our street, in the 1980’s.I originally was given this recipe by my mother, who got it from my aunty, or perhaps it came from Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Rimmer, Mrs. Sutton and Mrs. Welsh who regularly swapped recipes with our family. In 2010, it has become a cafe favourite around the country. 

INGREDIENTS (About 12 Bars)
67 g of copha
½ a tin of condensed milk (200 g)
¼ teaspoon of raspberry extract (optional) I could only find strawberry extract which smells like drops of heaven
125 g desiccated coconut (or shredded)
4 cups of all bran (twigs, toasted or raw flakes)
500 g of glace cherries (2 x 200g packs …plus an extra ½ pack (100 g) for decoration)
250g of dark chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

METHOD

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1. Set up a hot water bath or a ‘double boiler’ i.e. a large pot or saucepan, ½ full with hot water, with a large metal or glass bowl on top of it. It is important that the bowl is big enough to stop steam or water getting into it.

2. Place the copha, condensed milk and raspberry extract in the top of the double boiler and allow it to melt slowly as the water simmers. Don’t let the water boil.

3. Meanwhile, chop the glace cherries, either by hand, or in the blender. Try to leave a few course chunks in it. Remember to leave 25 cherries for decoration! Carefully gather all the cherries into a large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Every little bit counts so scrape the blender, being careful of the blades.

4. Add the coconut and the bran and mix the Ingredients. When the copha has melted, add both mixtures but be careful of steam and water on the underside of the bowl. When all ingredients are mixed thoroughly, leave it to cool on the bench for 10 minutes.

5. Line a couple of trays with aluminium foil, shiny side up .You will also need a bowl of clean cold water to wash your hands in. Roll the mixture into balls and regularly wet your palms to avoid sticking. Place the balls on the trays a 4 cm apart and then refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

6. Set up a hot water bath or a ‘double boiler’ again. This time for melting the chocolate. Make sure no water or steam gets into your clean bowl of chocolate, otherwise it will be impossible to work with. Heat the chocolate gradually until it is smooth and silky and then add a teaspoon of vegetable oil. This will thin it down and make it set softer when set. If you wish, you can also melt chocolate in the microwave but not in a glass bowl. It is important not to overheat the chocolate, so heat in increments of 30 seconds ,while stirring in between until smooth.

7. Use a ‘slotted spoon’ to dip the balls in the chocolate. Drain the excess chocolate of each ball and return it to the foil lined tray. While the chocolate is still wet, decorate each ball with a single cherry and allow them to set overnight in the fridge.