An Afternoon of Normal

lattice top cherry pie

One of the few good things about the pandemic is that commercial food purveyors have opened up accounts to consumers.

Well, to be accurate, they ALWAYS allowed consumer – as opposed to food industry – accounts, but I can’t afford to place a $5000 order, nor would I know where to store that much food if it all arrived at once. Now a $250 minimum? That I can do.

This week, we were ordering for the traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes.

(No, neither of us is Italian-American, but I grew up in a heavily Italian area, so I have gleefully appropriated this particular tradition.)

Now, we have a VERY good open air fish market in town here, right along the wharf, but since our Seven Fishes was VERY small this year, I wanted to go fancy – ossetra caviar, bitches! – so while we got the oysters, clams, shrimp, and whole snapper at the fish market, we also put in an order to our favorite commercial purveyor.

While browsing around their site, I noticed something TRULY special: pitted, frozen SOUR cherries. Which are the queen of cherries, particularly if you want to do anything more than just eat them fresh, and are devilishly hard to come by.

Into my cart they went.

One other small fact to be aware of: while the commercial purveyors have dropped the order minimum, in many cases, they haven’t dropped the order QUANTITY.

Which is how I found myself with 40 pounds of pitted, frozen sour cherries on my stoop Wednesday morning.

I was already planning to bake Wednesday afternoon – chocolate almond biscotti, anise pizzelles, amaretti (an Italian meal deserves Italian desserts) – and after loading MANY MANY pounds of cherries into gallon freezer bags and making room for them in the chest freezer in the basement, I knew what I wanted RIGHT NOW: sour cherry pie, the queen of all pies, and, often, devilishly hard to come by.

So I finished up my work for clients and for my business for the year in the morning, and, after a workout/shower/lunch, changed into my Baking Clothes and spent a blissful afternoon in the kitchen working with chocolate and flour and sugar and sour cherries and butter and almonds to make delicious things to eat.

It felt….normal.

And that’s my wish for you this holiday season (whether or not it’s also a holy day for you): that in this uncanny year, you would find a few moments – or even a few hours – here and there that feel blessedly, delightfully, normal.

Photo by the author. If you copy, please link back.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

6 responses to “An Afternoon of Normal

  1. If I lived nearby, I would totally split that 40 lb. order with you. I grew up next to my grandparents, and they had half a dozen Montmorency cherry trees, so I grew making cherry pie from fresh sour cherries. It’s my favorite pie. So I am always seeking the Holy Grail of pie cherries. Only the lucky people who live in Michigan, which has lots of cherry orchards, and certain areas of upstate New York, can find them fresh at farm markets. I occasionally have found fresh ones at a gourmet market in New Jersey; there is a one or two week window in June when they might be available. And I made a recent happy discovery of the frozen ones at a Turkish meat market, of all places. Apparently cherries are popular in Turkish cooking.

  2. Oh, I envy you those cherries! 😊Luck is with you for the New Year, let’s say!

  3. Heh, a new normal, that is. 😀

  4. I’m finishing the last of my traditional Christmas bake: a bun made with Sally Lunn dough (yeast dough enriched with sugar, butter, eggs, and cream) filled with frangipane (almond meal, egg, sugar, butter, and a little almond & vanilla extract). But into that I added the cup of dried tart cherries that I set up to macerate the night of the 23rd, in a 50/50 mix of rum and brandy. (I reserved the liquid, and made something not entirely unlike a Manhattan with the cherry liquid and a decent bourbon.)

    I’ve been making these buns for Christmas since about 1995, when my girls were little (and before their little brother arrived). The combination of frangipane — think marzipan lite — and tart dried cherries is my favorite sweet filling for these.

    I *heartily* endorse (and just as heartily envy!) the combination of your tart cherries with an almond cream; in fact, I was dreaming last night about making a shortcrust pastry and filling it with a layer of frangipane and a layer of cherries on top. If you make this, let us all know how it turns out!

  5. Keep the ideas coming on using the cherries, y’all, because 40 pounds is A LOT. Seriously. A LOT. 😉

  6. Martha Stewart has a good collection of sour cherry recipes, including the frangipane tart, preserves, lemonade, cold cherry soup, sour cherry bounce, all kinds of great ideas.https://www.marthastewart.com/275384/sour-cherry-recipes

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