Jeremy grew ground cherries and tomatillo this year. Don’t ask me what the difference is, they look the same to me! The ground cherries have been ripening for weeks and we just have piles and piles of them lying around. Sometimes I catch the squirrels up on the terrace munching on them. (Stupid squirrels.)
I picked several containers of them last week and Jeremy convinced me to make some Ground Cherry Bars, a recipe from Simply in Season cookbook.
You need 3 cups of ground cherries with the papery husk removed.
After hours of processing (or what felt like it) I finally had the required three cups:
You mix this in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Bring it to a boil then reduce heat. Mix up 3 tablespoons each water and cornstarch, add to the saucepan, and heat slowly, stirring constantly. After what seems like forever, it will thicken up nicely. Just don't overcook it - the ground cherries should still be whole.
Then cream together 1 cup butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract. Add 4 eggs and 2 cups of flour to this. Pour it in a greased 10x15 jelly roll pan. I used a glass baking dish (all I've got) that's more like 9x12 so I think the bars turned out differently than they might have if they were shallower.
The directions said to score the surface of the batter into 30 squares and spoon a little of the ground cherries onto each square. I ended up just pouring the ground cherries all over the top. Same thing.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, then cool and cut into squares.
Personally, I liked the fluffy, lemony batter better than the ground cherries. They're not bad though, but an interesting taste/texture to get used to. And we'd better get used to it because we've got another 3 or 4 cups of ground cherries waiting to be eaten!