Currently viewing the tag: "cherries"

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It took me a long time to feel confident making pies. I never actually made one until my late twenties, as they had seemed so daunting and time consuming; so much work for something that had such a high percentage of not turning out right. My first attempt actually was incredible: I made a perfect apple pie. The crust was flaky and golden brown, the filling perfectly cooked, with apples soft but not mushy. I remember bringing it to my Grandma’s house, and she raved and raved about it (she may have mentioned it was better than the pie my mom made) and I’m pretty sure she ate the rest of it for dinner that night. Brimming with confidence, I made another pie the next day: same recipe, same apples, same kitchen equipment, and alas, it was a total disaster.

I’ve discovered I often have beginners luck with baking, only to completely mess up whatever I am making the next time I go to bake it. I think it’s the grace of the kitchen gods: they know of my love and need for baking, but also my lack of patience and follow through. I’m notorious on giving up on something if I don’t get it right away. They let me succeed once, giving me false confidence of my abilities, and then the next several times I just can’t get it right. I know I can make a pie, and make it well, but now I have to work for it. This then triggers my OCD and anxiety (both of which I’ve been diagnosed with), and now I cannot rest until I get it right again. It’s actually maddening, but after weeks and months of testing a recipe, I walk away pleased with my outcome, and confident about sharing it with others. It’s rather a daunting process (I should have just gone to pastry school?) but I’ve always learn best from my mistakes, and also repeating something over and over until I really understand it.

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sour cherry turnovers | the vanilla bean blog
I forgot they were in my freezer. Door County cherries, tucked underneath bags and bags of raspberries the kids and I had gathered every summer afternoon from our backyard bushes. I had to dig through those berries and move them around and curse slightly to get to the bottom of that freezer drawer. But there they were, still glittering and ruby red and perfect.

It seemed the cherries were calling me. They were a memory, a lovely one, and it had been a week filled with bad news from the outside; articles and TV anchors whispering deadly affairs again and again: 92 people who died of thirst and Man kills family and then himself and Funeral workers steals gold teeth from bodies and 5 stabbed to death by relative and You are not safe. You are not safe. You are not safe.
sour cherry turnovers | the vanilla bean blog
I tend to turn to puff pastry when I’m anxious. The rolling, the turns, the soft dough on my hands helps me focus for a moment. And this batch would be filled with those memorable cherries. They were picked this summer, one short weekend when [A] and I got to steal away by ourselves. We made an impromptu stop at a cherry orchard, grabbed an old tin bucket and filled it high. And now they are here, still, in my hands. Their juices stain my fingertips and my white sweater I shouldn’t be wearing in the kitchen. My thoughts turn to blood: dark red blood running over the earth right now, and all the broken people weeping over that river. But I spent a summer day picking cherries; laughing and stealing kisses under tree branches.
sour cherry turnovers | the vanilla bean blog
Maybe taking up a whole morning to make puff pastry is a waste of time. But when my daughter walks through our backdoor, her hands clapping at the smell of turnovers, I don’t regret the minutes spent. When she bites into the flaky layers and sour cherries, letting the red juice freely trickle down the side of her mouth, I am thankful for the quiet minutes spent turning and rolling. And when I tell her about the afternoon Daddy and I picked cherries together in Door County, her eyes bright as she connects our memory with the treat in her hand, I somehow feel secure, if only for a moment.

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‘I’m all over the place, up and down, scattered, withdrawing, trying to find some elusive sense of serenity.’
‘The world can’t give that serenity. The world can’t give us peace. We can only find it in our hearts.’
‘I hate that.’
‘I know. But the good news is that by the same token, the world can’t take it away.’
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

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peach and cherry galette | the vanilla bean blog

I’m sneaking in for a post. I just couldn’t help myself; there were cherries. Not just any cherries, but hand-picked cherries dripping from trees like drops of rain: red, sparkling drops of sweet-tart rain. We filled our bucket gleefully, and my baker-heart had prophetic visions of flaky turnovers leaking dark juices, and sweet-sour chutney served next to roasted chicken; cherry and vanilla bean compote to cover the tops of pancakes and waffles, and of course, pies. Real cherry pies with real Door County cherries, to celebrate these August days that are slipping away…
peach and cherry galette | the vanilla bean blog
peach and cherry galette | the vanilla bean blog
peach and cherry galette | the vanilla bean blog

The end of summer is knocking loudly at our door and I’m not answering yet, hoping he’s read my ‘no soliciting’ sign and takes a hint, tries the next house. We’re not ready, not yet, my heart has been whispering while pitting cherries, while watching the sun set earlier each night, while filling out piles of paperwork for kindergarten and trying desperately not to let my unstoppable tears smudge the ink.

I’m just not ready to let go, let her go.

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