Posts Tagged ‘Cherry’

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Cherry Pie

August 4, 2014

Sour cherries are a truly seasonal fruit: unlike raspberries or blueberries, they can’t be grown year-round in a hothouse. Last year I let the short season pass me by, and this year I was determined not to miss it again. When my parents mentioned that they were going cherry picking a few weeks ago, I jumped on the chance to stock up. My mom asked me how much I wanted, and I told her “as much as you feel like carrying!” :) She’s the best mom ever: she picked me eight pounds of sour cherries, and felt so bad about how long it would take me to pit them, that she came over one afternoon and pitted all of them while watching a movie! So of course I shared samples of all my baking adventures with her… not enough of a thank-you for all her work. I’ll find a way to make it up to her somehow!

I think this is actually the first time I’ve made a sour cherry pie, and this recipe from the Gourmet Today cookbook was highly praised by the author of the Gourmet Project blog, so it’s the one I picked. Bon Appetit featured a cherry pie on one of their recent magazine covers with small holes cut out of the top crust rather than the traditional star-shaped slit. I don’t have any tiny biscuit cutters, but I found that the bottom of a cake decorating tip was the perfect size to achieve this effect! I like the way the larger holes reveal more of what the filling of the pie is (which is better for photographs), although those who feel squicked by the appearance of lotus seed pods would probably prefer a less hole-y crust. :)

The pie was fantastic; not too tart and not too sweet. To thicken the filling, this recipe uses a combination of both ground tapioca and cornstarch. At first I was wondering if this would  make it turn out too thick or gelatinous, but it turned out perfect for the amount of juices generated by the cherries. The touch of cinnamon added a really nice nuance to the flavor without being overwhelming. I would definitely make this pie again during next year’s sour cherry season! Or I may have to break out the gallon-size bag of cherries stashed away in the freezer… maybe mid-February when everyone could use a little touch of summer. :)

Cherry pie

See recipe

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Sweet-Cherry Pie

June 24, 2011

I was going through old pictures on my computer and I came across this pie I made last summer way before I ever started blogging! Unlike most cherry pie recipes, which call for sour cherries, this recipe from the June/July 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated uses much more widely available sweet cherries and makes some modifications to account for their very different flavor and texture. Sweet cherries are much firmer than sour cherries and are perfect for eating fresh, but that means that they don’t break down into a juicy pie filling as easily as sour cherries. Adding more sugar draws out moisture but would make the pie too sweet overall, so this recipe adds a secret ingredient: a small amount of pureed plums for tartness and juiciness. Topping the pie with a solid crust rather than the traditional lattice crust also helps to keep moisture in.

Although I usually think that Cook’s Illustrated provides excellent tips and techniques for cooking and baking, I’m less than impressed with their “foolproof” pie dough recipe. They add a flavorless alcohol such as vodka (which readily burns off in the oven) to make the dough easier to work with, but I find that the extra liquid makes the dough far too soft and delicate and that it tears when I try to roll it out. I may be doing something wrong, but I think I’ll stick with my trusty pie dough recipe from Gourmet Today. The problem with stiffer pie dough is that if you end up overworking it and the fat warms up, it becomes tough and no longer flaky. However, I’ve never had issues with the Gourmet recipe despite it being a stiffer dough. That may be because I use a food processor to cut in the butter and shortening rather than my fingers. I’ve provided the Gourmet dough recipe below, but if you’d like the softer Cook’s Illustrated version, please comment and I’ll add it in!

Sweet-cherry pie

See recipe

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Mom’s Cherry Nut Cake

June 2, 2011

My mom used to make this cake in heart-shaped pans every year for Valentine’s Day when I was a child. She got the recipe from my grandmother, but beyond that I am uncertain of its source. It has always been one of my favorites – I love maraschino cherries and almond extract, and the whipped cream frosting’s light texture goes perfectly with the crunchy walnuts in the cake! It is also super easy to make and turns out really moist every time. I made the cake this week as a going-away cake for one of my coworkers who is transferring to a different location, and it was a big hit!

One important note: Keep the assembled cake in the refrigerator until shortly before serving to preserve the whipped cream.

Mom's cherry nut cake

See recipe