Cherries Archive

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 »

Monday, June 29, 2009

cherry brown butter bars

cherry brown butter bars

I don’t know what’s happening to me — maybe it’s third trimester dwindling energy levels and an accompanying desire to get the most bang from my feeble bursts of productivity — but all of a sudden, I find myself saying that I don’t want to cook this thing or that because it’s not practical. Practical! Who am I? Certainly not the girl who baked a wedding cake last summer in her tiny, overheated kitchen. Certainly not a person who has [shh, can't tell you]-making and a 12-layer cake on her summer cooking agenda.

sweet cherries

Take this recipe, for example. It was originally a delicious-looking raspberry brown butter tart from this month’s Bon Appetit magazine. And although I usually associate brown butter with winter cooking — hazelnut brown butter cakes, brown butter shorties, pear crisps and brown butter with chestnuts and brussels sprouts, yes please. — and although I’ve never met a dessert tart I didn’t like, all I could think was “these would be so much more practical as a bar cookie!” Practical, there’s that word again. It’s all over for me, isn’t it?

cherry pittingpits and stemscherries a-pittedliquid ingredients Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

sour cherry compote

sour cherry compote

Growing up, we had a sour cherry tree in the backyard. And I hated it. I hated it because it was cruel in a way that kids think they’re intimately familiar with–shiny, perfect-looking thing dangled inches from your face that when you reach for, is totally disappointing, crushing even (because when you’re a kid, it’s all very dramatic).

Sour doesn’t even aptly describe what these cherries taste like; they’re more along the lines of “caustic” and “acerbic,” especially if you’re a kid. I never understood how something that looked like the very embodiment of cherry perfection–round, bright red marbles hanging from a tree–could taste so awful, but they did.

frosty

I don’t think it was until I had moved to New York that I came across sour cherries in a format I wholly approved of: a sour cherry crumble bar. Unfortunately, it was very “unapproved” way–in a take-away box from some uppity coffee shop in my apartment refrigerator, and it belonged to my roommate. So I only had A Taste. (Don’t ever live with me, people. I cannot be trusted.) Just a little evening off the side, and then a little more leveling so it looked better, and then pushed it so far back in the fridge I believe the roommate found it months later and didn’t recognize it.

Continued after the jump »


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