just desserts: cherries (give away winner announced)

Cherry. Innocent. Warm, sunny, summer afternoons. Plaid table clothes, baskets brimming with sandwiches. Pitchers of lemonade. Children running. Adults relaxing. Cherry pie. Wholesome. Cherry. Hedonism. Sensuality. Naughty. Innocence lost. Sultry evening. Music pulsing. Bodies moving to the primordial beat. Hot. Inhibition eroded. Sexy. Could any other fruit evoke such imagery? Sure there are peaches and melons, but there is not a single fruit or vegetable that could make us walk the tight rope between innocence and hedonism quite like the cherry. Excited to still find cherries in my local market I took the opportunity to indulge myself. I began my epicurean journey innocently by making mini cherry pies. These are a delightful, light ending to any meal. Feeling a little naughty I decided to snub my nose at September, the close of summer vacation. I wanted more summer. I made candied cherries. With large bins of apples in the market I had a desire for candied apples, but I would not make candied apples (not yet at least). Oh, delicious, mouth watering candied cherries. So easy to pop into your mouth one after another, almost guilt free.   The remainder of the cherries lay on table. Of course, I could just nibble at them as they were, but I had more sinister plans. I would open the bottle of “Pucker” I’d been saving for this moment. “Pucker.” When I see that word I have visions of lips at the ready for an innocent kiss. But, the images change to blatant hedonism when the word is the name of vodka and one of the flavors of this vodka is “Cherry Tease”. I wasted no time in submerging any remaining cherries into a glass of “Cherry Tease” so that the next day I would have a delicious drunken cherry! There has always been and, I suspect, will always be a fascination with those things that both express innocence and sensuality. It is, I think best expressed with this adult version of the “Shirley Temple” that the makers of “Pucker” call the “Flirty Shirley”.
Mini Cherry Pies Pastry Dough 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour ½ cup sugar Pinch of salt 8 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk Put the flour, sugar and salt into a food processor or mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate. Add the butter. Mix until the dough is coarse. Add the egg and egg yolk. Mix to combine. Form the dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or more. Filling 12-24 cherries (pits removed) ¼ - ½ cups sugar Cold butter, cut into 12 or 24 small pieces (small enough to fit into the middle of the cherry) Assembly Pre- heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough ¼ inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (or a glass) to cut out 12 or 24 circles large enough to line each compartment of a mini muffin pan. Place the circle of pastry dough into the compartment and press down with your thumb. Place 1 ½ teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of the pastry dough cup. Insert the butter into the cherry. Place the cherry into the cup (one cherry per cup). Sprinkle a little sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Crust will be golden brown. Candied Cherries Candy Coat ½ cup light corn syrup ¾ cup water 2 cup sugar ½ teaspoon food coloring (optional) Place all ingredients into a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Place the mixture on the stove. Use a candy thermometer to test the temperature. While waiting for the mixture to boil, line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. When the mixture is at 310 degrees it is ready. You will need to work fast to coat the cherries. Place the coated cherries on the lined cookie sheet to cool. Flirty Shirley In a high ball glass mix: 2 parts Pucker™ Cherry Tease Vodka 1 part Lemon-Lime Soda Dash of Grenadine
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    • September 11, 2011 at 9:14 am //

      Hi Clarkie, thank you so much = )

  • September 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm //

    I am in love with this post.

    • September 11, 2011 at 9:13 am //

      Thank you so much, and for commenting.

  • September 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm //

    Great pictures… you made me mouthwatering! I love “cherry” red! :)

    • September 11, 2011 at 9:13 am //

      Thank you, I like cherry red too!!!

  • September 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm //

    Oh yum! And so true…cherries seem to bring out more emotions in us than other fruit. Why is that?

    • September 11, 2011 at 9:13 am //

      Hi Christopher, I don’t know why that is, but I’d would really love to know as well, perhaps the depiction in commercials, media, etc (ETC) lol

  • September 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm //

    Great photos. I’ve never wanted to eat cherries more than I do after reading this!

    • September 13, 2011 at 4:35 am //

      Thank you, Jen!

  • September 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm //

    The only problem I find with cherries is that they’re too darn small! When eating them, I grab a bowl full and a knife, and a damp cloth and I then sit down and watch TV or whatever, while diligently cutting them in half and pitting them. I line the halves up on my chair and then when I’m done I can stuff like 15 of them into my mouth all in one go! That’s the only way to enjoy them :D

    Beautiful pictures and post! :)

    • September 13, 2011 at 4:37 am //

      Agreed, very easy to sit down and eat a whole bowl of cherries. Love that you line up all the halves! Thank you for your kind words.

  • September 12, 2011 at 12:07 am //

    Just mouthwatering…looks so easy to prepare and delicious!

    • September 13, 2011 at 4:38 am //

      Yes, Kalyan, super easy to prepare. Hope you give any of the recipes a try. Thanks for coming by!

  • September 12, 2011 at 2:12 am //

    Beautiful uses of these lovelies. The candied cherries look fantastic! A great way to enjoy the last days of summer.

    • September 13, 2011 at 4:38 am //

      Thank you Lisa!

  • September 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm //

    Cherries are dangerous in our house. They usually mean two things; 1) It’s Christmas in Sydney and they’re bound for cherry daiquiris (which pack a punch). 2) It’s The Hungry One’s birthday and he’s looking around for his black forrest birthday cake. I love them, and the way you’ve photographed them here. Gorgeous.

    • September 13, 2011 at 4:40 am //

      Thank you, Tori! It would be wonderful to have cherries at Christmas. How lucky you are. And, I don’t blame your Hungry One for wanting a black forrest cake..yum!

  • September 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm //

    I love the pictures with this post. They make me drool for cherries. I think you are right about cherries being on the line between innocence and sheer naughtiness.
    I’ll have to try making these pies if I can get hold of cherries here in Scotland. I’m always a little nervous though of working with hot sugar but I’m sure I’ll be fine!
    Just a quick comment… you can’t read other peoples comments on this page unless you highlight the page. Maybe the colour of the comment font should be tweaked?

    • September 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm //

      Hello Amy, we are working to get the site fixed right away, thank you for letting us know, the background should be white, but for some reason we are having a glitch and it looks to be all grey, it should be okay by tomorrow, we hope.

  • September 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm //

    Ah sorry I see… the other comments show up after you’ve commented.

  • September 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm //

    A lovely website, and I particularly love the photos. I’d love to talk to you about doing a photo exhibit, but can’t find how to contact you. Those cherries are so luscious and sensual!

    • September 13, 2011 at 4:57 am //

      Jonell, thank you! And, I’d love to discuss a photo exhibit. I sent you an email and look forward to hearing from you.

  • September 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm //

    Again my jaw just dropped not just because of that food but as well as your photography!

  • September 13, 2011 at 4:59 am //

    Raymund, thank you for your kind words:)

  • September 13, 2011 at 7:06 am //

    I love all of your gorgeous cherry pictures and recipes. I could dive right into the computer screen!

    • September 13, 2011 at 10:08 am //

      Laura, thank you for your wonderful comment!

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm //

      Hi Tori, thank you, so kind of you to say.

  • September 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm //

    What cute little tarts!!

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm //

      Hi Deborah, thank you so much.

  • September 14, 2011 at 12:06 am //

    Congrats to the winner of the lunch bag! Those cherry pies sound delicious, and your cherry photos in all..are beautiful..they just pop with beautiful color and composition :)

    That said, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I don’t use my FB account. However, I might start one for my blog…if I ever get around to self – hosting :)

    • September 14, 2011 at 11:40 am //

      I wasn’t on FB For a long time too, it was so intrusive, but I’ve come back, and I think it works well to network professionally, the foodie community is really welcoming, and hey I don’t mind Aunt Sally poking in to say hi either “wink”!

  • September 14, 2011 at 12:59 am //

    Mini cherry pies! Sign me up please:)

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm //

      Thank you so much Erin.

  • September 14, 2011 at 2:04 am //

    beautiful photos. but of course you’ve got a great “model”!
    love your posts!
    greetings from germany!

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm //

      Hi Jennifer, well thank you so much, cherries do make for a great model, huh? = )

  • September 14, 2011 at 3:26 am //

    These looks amazing! LOVE your photos – gorgeous as always! I’m craving pie now and it’s lunchtime!

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm //

      Hi Nora, thank you so much, so kind of you to say.

  • September 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm //

    wow! everything looks fantastic!

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm //

      Hi Peachkiss, thank you so much.

  • September 15, 2011 at 12:09 am //

    Wow! Your cherry photos are gorgeous. Love the mini cherry pie recipe! Such a great idea. It would be hard not to eat all of them :)

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm //

      Hello Barb, thank you so much, thank you for commenting! I agree, it would be hard to stop at just one, but I’m bias. “giggles”

  • September 15, 2011 at 4:00 am //

    Some really stunning clicks! Love simple desserts like this.

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm //

      Hi Angie, thank you so much for commenting, and thank you for your kind words.

  • September 15, 2011 at 6:26 am //

    I love that you’ve refused to let summer go! Love all of these cherry recipes =)

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm //

      Hi Peggy, thank you so much!

  • September 15, 2011 at 7:41 am //

    beautiful photographs, everything looks great

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm //

      Hello Claire, thank you!

  • September 15, 2011 at 9:17 am //

    Beautiful pictures of cherries ! Nice shots.

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm //

      Hi Christine, thank you so much!

  • September 15, 2011 at 10:46 am //

    This is now my third peek at this post (today). It is all fantastic, but the creative thought that went into candied cherries amazes me. I had to come out of hiding and say so. GREG

    • September 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm //

      Hey Greg, well thank you!!! Glad you came out of hiding to say hello!!!

  • September 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm //

    Those cherries are exquisite! The mini cherry pies sound so delicious, I wish I had one right now!

    • September 17, 2011 at 9:56 am //

      Thank you so much, and for commenting too!!!

  • September 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm //

    gorgeous photographs!

  • September 17, 2011 at 12:09 am //

    there are no words to explain how amazing this looks. your photos do all the talking…

    • September 17, 2011 at 9:54 am //

      Thank you so much Stephanie.

  • September 17, 2011 at 10:10 am //

    Cutie patootie little pies and your pictures are off the hook!

  • September 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm //

    Awesome photos! I’m looking forward to cherries this summer! (We are just at the start of spring here in Perth, Western Australia).