Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Cherry Pie and Cherry Cocktail

Often times when it comes to making desserts for my family, I’m on my own with the creativity. When I was younger and less experienced (not that I’m old or experienced now, but I’ve grown up at least a little bit :)), I used to suffer from serious indecision, or lack of any ideas at all. But as soon as I entered the online blogging world, I started getting so many great ideas and inspiration that I’ve never had trouble finding a recipe since. But this weekend, after encouraging my Grandpa to choose the Banana Pudding Pie for Saturday’s dinner, I decided to let his choose his birthday dinner dessert. And do you know what he told me? His favorite dessert in all the world is Cherry Pie. So I knew I had to make it.

I looked at a whole bunch of recipes and got a general idea of what I was aiming for. I had planned to make a pie with a lattice top as the tradition goes, because I wanted it to be just right for such a special occasion. I even went to the store and bought CANNED cherries (usually I’m opposed to most canned goods), because that’s what the recipe told me to do. So I ended up making a recipe from my very favorite Martha’s Vineyard cookbook (that I still can’t find online but SWEAR I will write down the name of the next time I’m home), and it came out wonderfully. I used a different pie crust recipe than it called for, and after AW’s warning that halving the recipe wouldn’t give me enough dough to make the lattice top, I halved the recipe and didn’t have enough dough to make a lattice top. What a surprise.

I tried to get creative and threw together a crumb topping, but within minutes of entering the oven, the “crumb” topping had melted into the pie, never to be distinguishable again. I was distressed — the pie looked so ugly! — so I baked a cherry-shaped pie topper with what little leftover dough I had, and prayed that with the decoration on top everything would be alright.

And it was, more than alright. My grandpa didn’t mind at all, and moreover, he really loved it, ugly top and all! And so did everyone else.

I was so pleased with its flavor and texture, and even more surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. I’ve never really had cherry pie, nor experienced the desire to, so it caught me off guard in a great way. I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and the combination was just perfect.

Before I baked the pie, but once I’d mixed the cherries and cherry juice, tapioca and sugar together, the whole mix seemed far too watery so I reserved a bit of the liquid. Once the pie was in the oven, and we had moved onto thinking about the evening’s cocktails, AW had the brilliant idea to use the reserved cherry pie liquid to make a drink. So he threw some in the shaker with gin and Bärenjäger (a honey liqueur) and shook it up with some ice. It came out in this beautiful magenta color, and it was so yummy! It was definitely very sweet, which usually isn’t my preference, but the gin balanced it out well, and the touch of honey was wonderful.

Overall, the night was a smashing success. I was thrilled to have created something worthy of my grandfather’s praise, and it was just a bonus that everyone else liked it too. Even my uncle, who’s known for not having much of a sweet tooth (who knew that was even possible?!) raved about it, saying it’s his all-time favorite dessert too. It was so great, and wrapped up a special weekend in a special way. I think someday I’ll even make cherry pie again!

I attempted the madeleines last night, and overall the experiment was a success. But for now, it’s back to work! Two more presentations and one exam to go, and then I am officially finished with college. WHOA!!?!

‘Til next time…


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