My momma makes a nearly unbeatable classic cherry pie, delicately scented with almond extract and hugged by a pretty, pastry-crimped lattice top. Divine with a scoop of Bluebell vanilla ice cream, slices are best served sitting on the couch or porch reconnecting with family.
She says it’s a lot of trouble to make a pie, but I don’t know if I believe her. She always says it with a smile and quick-working hands that suggest it may not actually trouble her all that much (or maybe the reward just far outweighs the effort…).
It doesn’t matter whether you fill the crust with fresh-picked fruit from an orchard or canned summer fruit off the grocery shelf, cherry pie always tastes like love and laughs and joy. I think it’s because no matter what ingredients you use, pies are a bit of effort. Not too much, mind you – just enough. Like breaking a sweat hiking to reach a stunning mountain view, or digging in the garden under the summer sun to plant new flowers.
A little effort makes the reward sweeter.
As much as I love to bake, I have only a handful of dessert recipes that I rely on time and time again. I’m usually more interested in trying new recipes or experimenting with elaborate concoctions that, while fun to play with, aren’t always the most practical to whip out for an unexpected visitor or last-minute craving.
So I was much intrigued and hopeful when I ran across this classic, simple Chez Panisse Almond Torte recipe featured on Alexandra’s Kitchen. Made with pantry staples and fresh items you almost always have on hand, it was the perfect recipe – images of tender, buttery, almond-scented cake, hot out of the oven at a moment’s notice enthralled me, and I ran to the kitchen to whip up this easy masterpiece.
And it was a huge disaster.
Sifting through a pile of St. Patrick’s Day’s most relevant breakfast cereal, I found myself full of questions.
Could I name all of the Lucky Charms from memory? Wouldn’t the cereal be luckier if there were seven charms rather than the current eight? Is the cereal mascot offensive to the Irish, or perhaps just unflattering to leprechauns?
I contemplated, discarding chipped horseshoes and broken rainbows, fishing out only the best and most-charmed marshmallows to bring my pavlova luck.
Are balloons really charmed? I feel like that’s a stretch. Same goes for hourglasses.
Is there such a thing as too much passionfruit?
I think not.
A few weeks ago around Valentine’s Day, Jason and I booked a Brazilian cooking class at one of our favorite cooking schools in Denver. Though there are a few good options around town for cooking experiences, we prefer the shiny new facility, professional program – and let’s be honest, the easy parking – at The Kitchen Table Greenwood Village. They really set up a perfect date night, with a dimly lit, nicely-appointed dining room, welcome cocktails and fancy nibbles to begin your evening.
Artisan Chocolate Series, Part 3: Molded Chocolates
I’m not ready to let go of Valentine’s Day.
Really, it’s the combination of both the holiday and my birthday a few days earlier – I get spoiled with nearly a week of prolonged gifting and decadence, a chance to give back to the people I love and, of course, the perfect excuse to make a bundle of chocolates for gifting.
So whether you’re behind on your gifting, are just now getting around to seeing someone you love, or just aren’t prepared to cut off your chocolate supply cold-turkey, here’s another chance to impress yourself and others with newly acquired chocolate-making skills!