Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Charming Billy

The last couple of weeks of June, I watched as the sour pie cherries on the tree outside a business on my route to/from work went from zero to bright red. I waited and waited and watched and sampled and then, the first week of July, just before we went on our trip, I sprang into action.

It was after work one day, hot and dusty, and I asked Dan to accompany me to the tree. I brought a reusable plastic container and hoped I'd be able to fill it with only the gleanings from the branches that stuck over the fence. (Most of the tree, and therefore most of the cherries, were out of reach of passers-by.) First I picked, and then Dan picked what I couldn't reach, and each cherry plopped a satisfying plop into the container. I nabbed every cherry that seemed ripe, and Dan grabbed every cherry he could reach, and we ended up with several cups of cherries.

We walked home, stolen fruit in hand, and I washed, pitted, and stemmed the cherries, then set them out individually on trays to freeze. My original intention had been to use them right away, but this summer was hot, hot, hot. I think we maybe only turned on the oven two or three times in three months.

Once the cherries were frozen, I dumped 'em into a ziplock and there they sat, mocking me each time I pulled out a handful of walnuts or got ice for my drink. "Use us," they purred. "You know you want us. It is our destiny!" "Quiet, you," I told them. "It's still too hot for the oven."

It was too hot all through the parts of July that we were home, and it was too hot all through August. On September 1 I awoke to what felt a bit like a change in season, a crispness to the air, and decided I'd make a cherry pie on Friday. Except Friday, and then Saturday, and then Sunday, were all far too hot to consider the prospect of the oven. Colorado weather teased me, keeping that sour cherry pie just out of reach, each red beauty icy and tantalizing when I'd open the freezer door.

I decided enough was enough, and yesterday afternoon it wasn't miserably hot, so I pulled the cherries out of the freezer, tossed 'em with some sugar, some corn starch, and a wee bit of salt, and let them sit and defrost for over an hour.

Meanwhile, I made a pie crust and stuck it in the fridge. I decided on this recipe, though I did tweak it a bit. Once the filling was pink and squishy, I squelched it into the crust and used the oat/almond topping from the recipe, and then I shoved it in the oven for about an hour.

Except about 50 minutes in, I started smelling something...burnt-ish. And then I cursed myself for forgetting to stick a cookie sheet under the pie. I hastily shoved one onto the bottom rack, but it was too late for the hapless goo left to burn on the bottom of the oven. Yum.

After dinner, Dan and I each had a piece of purloined cherry pie. It was one of the best pies I'd ever made.


Crafty Mama said...

Mmm.....cherry pie is my favorite! Too bad I'm the only person in the house that likes it. Enjoy your purloined cherry pie. :)

jive turkey said...

DAMN that pie looks good. Cherry pie is my all-time favorite. I need to make or get some soon, even though the cherries most likely won't have such an interesting story behind them...