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She’s My Cherry Pie

It seems that cherries are everywhere lately. In this amazing food blog, quickly becoming one of my favorites, and in this magazine, cherries abound! For those lucky enough to live in cherry territory, like Michigan, Washington, Oregon or California, cherry bliss is yours for the picking, literally. Because of my profound and relentless love of the cherry (“tastes great AND great for gout”-what more could you ask for from your fruit?), I think Glenn and I will be planting a cherry tree or two. I’d actually been thinking an ideal way to celebrate each anniversary would be by planting a tree, each one growing and maturing along with us. My friend, Ric Scalzo, founder of Gaia Herbs, clued me in to this amazing nursery in Virginia that ships organic fruit and nut trees nationwide. I’ve been eyeballing Joel and Jan for some time now and it might be time to finally make my move. Locally, Reems Creek Valley Nursery in Weaverville has several cherry trees available, along with pear and apple. It’s dangerous for me to go there, though. I seem to couch my capacity for self control in the car and surrender to “Extreme Plant Lust” (E.P.L. for short) with reckless abandon. Glenn knows this to be true.
But I digress. Where were we? Oh, swooning over cherries. And so it was, succumbing to my cherry passion, that “Cherry Almond Galette” came into being. This can be made with either fresh or frozen cherries (I opted for the latter as, one, they were organic, and two, fresh cherries at my local natural food store are going for $7.99/lb. and I needed a lot of cherries). The flavor will be the same.
Was it good, you ask? Good doesn’t do it justice. Let’s just say, it had to be hidden away, out of view, lest the passion of the cherry overcome us both and we devour everything but the parchment. It was a rough lesson in self-discipline, folks. Be forewarned.

Cherry Almond Galette
Filling:
-3 c. pitted cherries (fresh or frozen; if using frozen, allow to thaw, then drain off juice)
-4 Tbsp. kuzu or cornstarch (I used kuzu here, yes, the same vine that rapidly covers up cows and small children; it’s an awesome thickener, but cornstarch will work just as well)
-1/2 c. sugar (I opted for Florida Crystals so I can feel good about eating sugar!)
-2 Tbsp. amaretto (the alcohol burns off in cooking; a non-alcoholic option would be 1 tsp. almond extract)
-pinch of salt
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-1 Tbsp. butter, cut into tiny bits
-1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
-Sugar for sanding

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
-Stir cherries, kuzu (or cornstarch), sugar, amaretto, salt and lemon juice in medium size bowl. Set aside.

Galette Dough:
-adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
-2 c. all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1 Tbsp. sugar
-10 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
-1/3 c. ice water

-Mix flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor (or in mixing bowl if not available). Add butter and pulse until incorporated into pea-sized bits (cut in with pastry cutter with not using processor). Slowly add ice water in 2 Tbsp. increments, just until dough forms a ball. Wrap ball in plastic wrap, press into a disk and refrigerate 15 minutes to firm up.
-On a lightly floured counter, roll dough out to a 14 inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Fold in half and transfer to baking sheet.
-Add cherry filling, pouring off any excess juice first.
-Beginning at any point on the edge of the dough, fold dough up and to the left to form overlapping edges (refer to photo
above for visual guide).
-Top filling with 1 Tbsp. chilled butter bits.
-If any dough is left over, feel free to cut out shapes for topping. I used stars from an aspic set.
-Beat egg with heavy cream (from cherry filling ingredients list). With pastry brush, paint edges of crust and any dough
cut-outs. Sprinkle all liberally with sugar.

-Bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake an additional 25 minutes, or until crust is golden.