Oh golly, it’s so Fall around here. The garden and I would like to request the commencement of Indian Summer, if you please. Our little sprouts out there are just a little too sprouty for my taste. I am thrilled about cooking all my favorite cold weather foods though. This is a top favorite for when time is short and cheap eats are in order. I never do the fussy separating of the butter though: I use 4 tablespoons and put all the spices in right at the get-go. This is the dish that put french lentils on the map for me, and while I love a good mushy dal as much as the next girl, french lentils are in another league entirely. Also loving: baking in a cold house. Yesterday I decided that it was finally time to bake a cherry pie with some of those cherries that B and I picked and pitted. I can’t believe this, but I’ve never made a cherry pie! And I was kind of horrified at how many people want you to make a cherry pie from a sweet cherry. Wtf? A sweet cherry is a hand fruit: you just eat them. Ok, not totally true, I did make an amazing cornmeal cherry cake with sweet cherries but it was just a handful and honestly, if I ever make that again I’d go sour cherries for sure. ANYWAY. As usual, I had to look at 50 different recipes and mix them all together and freak out a little bit about it. Here’s what I settled on:
6 cups cherries (too many – 5 would have been fine)
1 1/8 cup sugar (sweetening fruit pies is the scariest part – I so hate an overly sweet pie but these cherries were sour and could have definitely been undersweetened – in the end I think this was maybe just a tad on the sweet side - B does not agree - so next time I will do a cup and a tablespoon and see if I can make us both happy)
3 tablespoons quick-cook tapioca, ground to fine in a coffee grinder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of nutmeg
Our cherries were frozen, and most recipes emphasized that you just deal with them frozen; you toss them with the ingredients above and let it all sit for about 30 minutes and then throw it in the pie crust. Easy peasy and I am so tickled that we still have cherries for another half dozen pies.
Speaking of pie crusts I had to be my usual nimrod self and try a new pie crust recipe even though I have several that I really like and are easy to work with. I am a pie crust harlot. This crust was so flaky. Insanely flaky. Too flaky if you ask me. It made for a really nice under crust, which is to say not gummy at all, but the top crust was just a little dippy for my taste. Anyway, all of that aside, the pie was totally delicious and our favorite wedding-fiddler friends just happened to come over and god, nothing makes you feel like Betty Crocker more than opening the door and being able to say “Come in why don’t you – I’m just getting the cherry pie out of the oven!”
Hey, Asheville is still out of gas! People are freaking the hell out. It’s so interesting. B and I have been very whatever about it; the scooter and the car sip gas, we were lucky to head into this whole thing with full tanks, I mostly ride my bike to work anyway, and there’s really no place that we need or want to go that we can’t ride bikes to. Not the case for a lot of people, not even close. I empathize with folks who have found themselves in a tough spot, but at the same time I have never had more bicycle company on the road and I have never heard so many people talk about carpooling and combining their errands and all the shit we should be doing anyway. Woo-hoo.