Tag Archives: pie cherries

Pleasures of summer


Yogurt and granola with freshly picked raspberries

Here are just some of the delights I’ve been enjoying this first week or so of July.

Salmon with lemon slices

Salmon with lemon slices

 Copper River salmon with blackened (caramelized) lemon slices. It’s nice to use a cast iron skillet for this. First, saute one (or two) thinly sliced lemon(s) in a bit of butter or olive oil until soft and starting to blacken; next, sear the salmon filet, then finish cooking in the oven at 300 or 325 degrees until the salmon is tender and flakes easily.


Beans and greens summer salad

The base is cooked or canned white beans. I used cannellini beans that I brined the night before and rinsed before cooking. (This is a great way to cook beans that I learned from Cook’s Illustrated.) Make a dressing of olive oil, plenty of fresh lemon juice (and some zest if you like), a little garlic and some salt. You can basically add any chopped vegetables and herbs you like: for this salad, I used chopped raw spinach, chopped broccoli rabe (cooked crisp-tender), chopped green onions, a little sweet yellow pepper and some minced parsley, mint and dill. A second variation omitted the spinach but had more broccoli rabe and some basil.

Pie cherries from the farmers market

Pie cherries from the farmers market

Pitting pie cherries

Pitting pie cherries

Cherry pie

Cherry pie

I only had enough cherries for a small pie — and I decided to make the top crust only. (We never missed the bottom crust or its calories. And I didn’t have to decide whether to pre-bake it or not.)

You’ll need some nice fresh pie cherries, which are not always easy to find — and some sugar and cornstarch or other thickener for the filling (How much? Epicurious has a good basic recipe and you can adjust it according to how big a pie you’re making, etc.) Also a little lemon juice and zest.

Some people like almond extract in a cherry pie, but I don’t care for almond extract anywhere, so of course it didn’t go in.


Later, that same day

I didn’t hear any complaints.

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Filed under dessert, fruit, summer, supper time, vegetables

Saturday afternoon pie

It was a grey and dreary February day, and I was in the mood to make a little late afternoon sweet. I’d been thinking about cherry pie ever since George Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22.

When I was a child, I often heard the story about how young George, trying out his new hatchet, chopped down a cherry tree. When his father came along later and saw the damaged tree, he asked his son if he knew who the culprit was, the story goes, and George answered: “I cannot tell a lie, Pa. I did cut it with my hatchet.”

Growing up in Illinois, we always had Feb. 12 off from school for Lincoln’s birthday (sadly, not associated with any type of pie) and Feb. 22 off for Washington’s birthday, which was always celebrated with cherry pie.  One time when I was about 12 my father took me out to lunch at a fancy restaurant in Chicago’s Wrigley Building on Washington’s birthday.  I don’t remember what we ate for main course, only that it was a very special treat — and that, naturally, we had cherry pie for dessert.

Anyway, this Saturday, three days after George’s birthday, I was too lazy to make a real pie (and in any case I didn’t have enough quite enough pie cherries in my freezer for a big pie) so I decided to just wing it and create my own cookie-cutter topped cherry concoction. I made a pie dough (using about 3/4 cup flour, 3 tablespoons of butter, a little salt and some ice water), rolled it out and cut it with my cookie cutter.

I mixed the thawed pie cherries with a couple spoonfuls of flour, some sugar (I had to guess how much, but it turned out just right) and a little orange peel, and put the cherry mixture in a pie pan, then placed the flower-shaped pieces of dough atop and sprinkled them with a little demerara sugar.

After about 35 minutes, the cherries were bubbling and the pie dough was golden. I took this bottom-less pie out of the oven and let it cool down just a bit while I made a pot of Italian decaffeinated coffee and took out some rarely used fancy dessert plates.

In honor of George (albeit a little after his birthday) we enjoyed our cherry pie and coffee — and the dreary day became a cheery one.

Oh, by the way, it turns out the story about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree is false, a  fabrication of George Washington’s biographer. Nevertheless, as Maira Kalman writes in her fabulous blog about George (which I was happy to revisit today) he was likely a moral man — and also quite likely, partial to cherry pie.


Filed under dessert, fruit, musings, Uncategorized, winter