Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cherry Pie (Page 771)

The Book: Gourmet Today

  • Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 -- 12pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Teri, and Terry
  • Recipe Rating: A-

My special gentleman and I celebrated three years of marriage at the end of last month! My parents happened to be visiting on our wedding anniversary and I made this pie for the occasion, as my dad loves pie and my special gentleman loves cherries! I started by making the basic pie crust in The Book, which will be the subject of my next post. While the crust chilled I ground tapioca in a spice grinder, then mixed it with cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and pitted sour cherries. I let the fruit mixture stand for a while to release some juices. Then I assembled the pie in the obvious way. After assembly I brushed the top crust with milk, cut some steam vents in it, and sprinkled the crust with sugar. I baked the pie on a hot baking sheet in a hot oven, covering the edges with foil after the first half an hour.

This pie was good. Very good. It seems surprisingly common for people to make cherry pie using canned cherry pie filling. It is odd to me to go through the trouble to make your own pie, but then use canned filling. On the other hand, cherry pie is made with sour cherries, with are rather difficult to find in many parts of the country, so perhaps that's why. Luckily, we do not have that problem here in Michigan, where frozen sour cherries are a supermarket staple. Which is good for me, because I would never use canned pie filling when it is SO easy and delicious when you make it yourself! This pie filling was spot on. The sweetness was just right, as was the consistency. The cherry flavor was lovely as well. The crust recipe is the same as the one in the Yellow Book (why mess with success!), so I have made it many times before. It turned out lovely this time, just as it always does. I liked the dusting of sugar on top, which gave the top crust a nice crunch. In summary: this pie was great and everyone loved it. The Yellow Book had three cherry pie options: a Cherry Almond Pie,  Brandied Sour Cherry and Pear Tartlets, and a Sour Cherry Crostata. This cherry pie recipe is definitively better than the first two listed above. It's a tight race though between this and the sour cherry crostata, which was also very tasty. I think both will find a place in my permanent repertoire!

Here's a picture of me with my special gentleman on our three year wedding anniversary last month -- happy even before we ate the cherry pie!

The recipe is here.

7 recipes down, 1099 to go! 

I grew up in the Midwest. In Madison, Wisconsin, which is a very fine place to live. My special gentleman grew up outside Columbus, Ohio -- also a nice place. And now we live in East Lansing, Michigan. Both of us have spent longs periods of time living on the coasts. I spent over 4 years living in the San Francisco Bay Area and 5 years living in Boston. My special gentleman spent a year in the Bay Area, 4 in New York City, 1 in Princeton, New Jersey, and 3 in Boston. So it's not that we have only lived in the Midwest. We have seen and lived in many parts of this country, and it just happens that we got jobs together, back in the Midwest, near our families. 

We have a lot of friends who grew up on either the East or West Coast, went to school on the coasts, and live on the coasts. Their ideas about the Midwest are based mostly on rumors, TV shows, and short visits to a small number of places. In general, their opinions of the Midwest are negative. It cracks me up actually. When I travel to conferences, or to gives talks in seminars at various places, people often ask about how my (relatively) new job is going. A surprisingly large subset of people get this vaguely concerned look on their face as they ask, hesitantly, "How's.... Michigan?" They use a tone I would reserve for someone who had been forced to move to Siberia and live in a frigid region of the wilderness therein, populated only by tigers: "How's.... Siberia?" It's this sad, questioning, tone, with an underlying, "You poor thing!" behind it.  

I have a standard response: "We love Michigan!" I don't just say that -- we really do love Michigan. I firmly believe that Michigan is under-appreciated. It is an extremely beautiful state with lots of outdoorsy wonderfulness to offer. In my experience winters aren't any worse here than they were in Boston, and the Michigan spring, summer, and fall weather is absolutely lovely. Particularly the summer! And life here is easy. People are friendly and relaxed. You don't have to ever worry about traffic or parking. We know our neighbors. Things are inexpensive. We have a house that we love. It's just a nice life. And I have never (never once!) had the thought that this place is boring. Rather, there are tons of things I would like to do in East Lansing, and in the rest of the state, that I just haven't had time to do yet (e.g. go to a Lansing Lugnuts game [minor league baseball!], hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes, visit Pictured Rocks, camp in the Upper Peninsula, eat Slows barbecue in Detroit, see the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, canoe down the Grand River for a day, etc, etc). 

Both my special gentleman and I travel a lot for work, but I always look forward to coming home to Michigan. This week I am at home all week for the first time in quite a while, and I am loving it! I feel tremendously blessed of course that my special gentleman and I found tenure-track jobs together. But I also feel LUCKY that those jobs are in Michigan. I think that is something that many of my east and west coast friends will never understand. I'm OK with that.  


mish said...

The pie looks great! I had been hoping to make the sour cherry almond pie this weekend but, alas, I can't find any sour cherries in Southern California. Any ideas? Just hope I get stationed in the midwest too?

Teena said...

I have no suggestions unfortunately. When I lived in Boston sour cherries were impossible to find. The only hope was at the Farmer's Market a few weeks of the year. I don't have any experience looking for sour cherries in Southern California, but if you can't find them at the Farmer's Market you may be out of luck!