Cherries Archive

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

blue and red berry ricotta galette

blue and red berry star galettes

Were you about to make a pie for this weekend? Stop. I think you should join me in abandoning Team Pie for Team Galette; you won’t regret it. It’s not like we haven’t had our share of exceptional vegetable galettes, but save a nectarine version in the archives and a cherry-almond riff in the book, I usually defaulted to pie when it came to fruit, round, slabbed or cookie-ed. But last week, when we had an excess of blueberries on our hand because someone (cough) cannot control herself when anything first graces the Greenmarkets, it all felt like so much work — all of that dough, sugar, crimping and weaving and trimming, baking time, plus I have no idea where my pie dishes are, they’re probably being used as a play-doh receptacle somewhere. A galette would never do this to you.

blueberries, cherries

Galettes are your friend. Requiring less of everything, they come together in all of 15 minutes and take 30 to bake, which means you can totally wait until the last minute to make one, as you were going to anyway. They don’t care if you make them round or square — whatever shape the dough stretches out into will do. But that doesn’t mean someone (cough) didn’t get carried away trying to put a July 4th spin on hers.

threading the dough with lemon zestwork butter into flour mixture
add ricotta and waterknead into a craggy ball

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, June 26, 2014

cherry almond dutch baby

cherry almond dutch baby

If I were forced, because it was my job or something terrible like that, to come up with some sort of World Cup of Pancakes ranking system, it would go something like this: rumpled bed sheet-like pancakes > flat, round disc pancakes. Pancakes with fresh fruit, baked and leaky within > pancakes without fresh fruit inside. Pancakes recipes that instruct only “mix everything” > pancake recipes that make you separate wet, dry and other ingredients. Pancakes that I can decide to make on a whim and have on my plate in just over 20 minutes > pancakes that will find me still ladling, flipping, turning over a hot frying pan with 2/3 of the seemingly interminable bowl of batter still to go 20 minutes later.

my favorite part of june
pitting cherries

Not that I’ve given this matter any serious thought or anything. Surely there are more pressing things that should warrant my attention [such as this apartment that won’t clean itself, or debating whether we should move to a new one (that perhaps will?), or how to unload the 25 cookbooks I just thinned from my bookshelves, something I don’t think would feel more satisfying if I had thinned them from my actual person, etc.] But it’s summer and my brain and ambition have already gone soft. The markets are awash in cherries, and if I could get away with it, I’d spend the next few weeks eating them for every meal of the day.

just mix everything

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, July 1, 2010

sour cherry pie with almond crumble

sour cherry pie with almond streusel

If there can be no clearer indication that this will be the Summer of Pie at the Smitten Kitchen — as if a 6-week onslaught of galette after pie smackdowns after savory tart built on a platform of tartlets crusted bettys and free-form pretties did not already lead us to that conclusion — my pastry blender broke this week after putting in five very good years. First, one side of it became unglued from the handle and because I am both stubborn and cheap, I’d just hold it in with my thumb while I cut butter into flour. But then the other side came unglued and I ran out of thumbs. So RIP little pastry blender, and Amazon, hurry and bring that new one along, okay?*

sour cherries
pitting and pitting the cherries

If it could have a fitting final act, this would be a fine one, a sour cherry pie I’ve been angling to make for more than three years and have, without fail, missed the painfully short window that sour cherries are available. Not this year. This year the season seems to be stretching on and on, and I couldn’t be more pleased as while sweet cherries make some fine snacking, sour cherries win all prizes in baking.

pitted cherries

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

new york cheesecake

new york cheesecake

New Yorkers have a reputation for being pushy and over-the-top — these are things you learn when you leave the city for a weekend, and a ticketing agent at the airport in Tulsa, for example, informs you that you’re so much more polite than she thought a New Yorker would be. We apparently like things bolder and taller and shinier and more intense and while I’m not sure if this really applies to your average straphanger commuting from walk-up to cubicle and back again everyday, I am absolutely certain that it applies to our cheesecakes.

(No, the other kind, silly.)

soft cream cheese bricks, wouldn't stackgraham crackers to be groundmelted butter into crumbscheesecake battera tall crumb crustfilled nearly to the brimthe baking process vexxed mecheesecake, it fell a bit

How is a New York Cheesecake unlike any other cheesecake? To begin, it’s very very tall. Most cheesecakes — like my Bourbon Pumpkin, Cappuccino Fudge, Key Lime and a Brownie Mosaic riff — use 3 bricks of cream cheese; this uses 5. Most cheesecakes are cut or lightened with sour cream; not here, where firm and intense is the goal. Often they’re scented with a bit of lemon; nobody knows why, only that it tastes good. And finally, they’re often topped with gooey heaps of fruit that will, without fail, not taste as good as their pretty-pretty picture. Why? Because, in most cases, they’re actually canned pie filling.

new york cheesecake, drippy

Continued after the jump »

Friday, July 24, 2009

sour cherry slab pie

sour cherry slab pie

Continuing my summer fascination with any and all fruit desserts with goofy names, not two minutes after I discovered the existence of slab pie, I was fixing to make it. Why? Because it looks like a giant Pop Tart, and surely you don’t think a woman in her third trimester needs a single other reason to bake something.

sour cherries
pits!

But even though I just discovered this whole “slab pie” thing, I’m quite taken with it already — and not just the ungraceful name. It is, frankly, brilliant, more rustic than a pretty little crimped-edge 9-inch round and flakier too: the large swaths of dough manage show off their layers better than they do in smaller quantities, landing shatters and flecks like confetti all over your plate. Slab pie squares, especially the edges and corners, are more portable than wedges from a traditional round — how convenient for picnics and pot lucks — and if you’ve ever wanted to make a pie but known you had more than eight people to serve, this is your answer: pie for dozens. That is, if the baker is the generous sort.

slab pie, almost lidded
Continued after the jump »