I had some sad news earlier this week. We just won’t have a cherry season around here this year. I think Michigan is all but given up hope of anything there, too. And all the farms that might have had cherries this year have no you-picks, which make for some of the most beautiful shots of teeny little bare feet in trees climbing to help harvest.
Last year was monumental and to be remembered with deep affection. Cherry shrub, pickled cherries, boozy cherry pie, cherry salsa, cherry shiso vinegar, cherry pound cake. Oh my the pounds of cherries.
So I was of two minds about this sad state of affairs because I had been give exactly one large bowl of sour cherries from a friend in a new house with (what an amazing bonus!!) a mature cherry tree in her front yard.
One: mourn the shortness of the season and hoard the cherries in frozen packs to be broken out in teeny rations when winter rolled around again.
Two: use them. All. Right now. Share them in riotous decadence in individual pies.
I chose love. I chose two.
I think it’s Thomas Keller who makes his food deliberately one bite too small. The reasoning is to create that longing for the one more bite that is not to be.
So for me – for us – we made memories at an outdoor table at a good friend’s home. Just one night. For a few moments at dusk. Spooning bites of oozy, bubbly, almost-too-hot-to-eat, tart cherry pies with melt-y vanilla ice cream that we didn’t have to share with anyone. Decadent. And memorable.
We all wished we had one bite more.
Individual Ball Jar Sour Cherry Pies, inspired by Our Best Bites.
One or two batches of this pie crust recipe, depending on the size of your pies (4oz or 8oz ball jars) – Note: I added some 4 odd tablespoons of lavender sugar to this recipe and used half butter, half vegetable shortening.
5 cups of pitted sour cherries
1 1/2 c sugar (and if half of that sugar happens to be sugar that some lavender flowers were kept in for a week, so be it)
3 T cornstarch
Line each ball jar with a thin sheet of pie crust (if you happened to maybe say purchase some refrigerated pie crust, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, that stuff can be pretty good). Using the ring of the jar, cut out a circle that you will use to top each pie.
Combine the cherries, sugar and cornstarch, let macerate for 10 minutes or so.
Fill each jar, almost to the top. Top with the crust round. Crimp edges, vent. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Put on the lid and screw top.
Refrigerate until ready to bake or – better yet if you have restraint – freeze until ready to use. When you’re ready to bake, remove the rings and lids and place in a cold oven and turn on heat to 375. Yes. From frozen or the fridge. I know! Bake for about 45 minutes if they are from the fridge. About 50 to 55 minutes if they came from the freezer. They are genius, these little pies. Genius I tell you.
Playlist included Next to Me by Emeli Sandé. And oh man, do I love this song, you guys.