Every season I become obsessed with a particular food. It’s the equivalent of a musical earworm for the tastebuds: I just can’t get the thought of it out of my head.
Last fall, for example, I craved butternut squash. I chopped up so many of them that my hands looked jaundiced, stained from their orangey-yellow meat. We ate all kinds of dishes featuring it — three sisters’ stew, butternut squash-sweet potato-and-apple soup, and casseroles — and I never got tired of it. The rest of my family… well, let’s say they might have been happy to move on to the next season.
This summer it’s all about the cherries.
Usually about this time of the year, I can’t get enough of strawberries, and I’ll admit that we have eaten our fair share of them this summer too. But those cherries…. oh my.
It started, of course, with our trip to Traverse City, home of the National Cherry Festival. I tried dried cherries for the first time and was hooked. They are more substantial and sweeter than raisins, and atop a basic spinach salad sprinkled with sunflower seeds and spritzed with a balsamic vinaigrette, they are divine. I’ve taken to rationing the ones we bought in Michigan.
We’ve even found a new flavor of cherry tea. So. Good.
I knew I had dropped off the deep end when, over the holiday weekend, I decided to make a cherry pie. From scratch.
I’ve made cherry pie before using the canned stuff, but I’ve never attempted homemade filling. It’s the easiest thing in the world, really. Apart from pitting all those cherries. You simply simmer pitted cherries with sugar and cornstarch, stirring so it doesn’t burn until it thickens into the sweetest pie filling ever.
Slap it in a crust — specifically, a pre-baked pie crust so the final pie isn’t soggy (and I learned that on the Great American Baking Competition, thank you very much, Paul Hollywood) — and you’ve got yourself a taste of summer sensation.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m trying to figure out how to make homemade cherry-chocolate chip ice cream for the weekend. Gotta go pit some more cherries.
Do you find yourselves craving a particular flavor during the summer?