Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

Yes, if she has a lot of time, patience, sour cherries, a cherry pitter -- and a compelling reason.*   In my case, it was DH's Father's Day gift.  (He's not my father, but he is a fabulous father to our children, so I like to celebrate his parenting skills whenever I can.)

The pie baking was delayed after I realized that the sweet cherries I purchased were the wrong type for pie, so I returned to the farmer's market to get sour cherries.  I had made the pie dough early in the morning, so that was set.  But what a lot of work cherry pie is.  First you have to buy the right cherries and then you have to pit them all.  Luckily DD was visiting, and did about one-third of them.  I finished up. What a mess (see below).

When you're done with the pitting, you have a bowl of gorgeous cherries (below), to which you simply add some tapioca, flour, sugar, lemon juice and almond extract, spoon it all into a pastry lined pie pan and cover it with the top crust.

I used a recipe from A Cookbook for Girls and Boys, written in 1946 by Irma S. Rombauer, author of The Joy of Cooking.  (When my scanner is working again, I'll post the recipe.)

Despite the mess and the time, it was worth it.  This pie is spectacular, and made more special by the very short (approximately three week) growing season of sour cherries in the northeast.
It wasn't until about 8 p.m. on Father's Day that DH was able to enjoy his present, but he loved it.  And unlike Billy Boy (see below), he already has a wife (and a cherry pie, for that matter).

*Other reasons to bake a pie may have to do with finding a mate.  The lyrics to Billy Boy, a nursery folk song about a man searching for a wife, ask in one refrain:

Can she make a cherry pie,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Can she make a cherry pie,
Charming Billy?
She can make a cherry pie,
Quick as a cat can wink an eye,
She's a young thing
And cannot leave her mother.

In examining the song, British writer Robin Fox observes that food and courtship are closely linked and that cooking ability is highly prized in a bride -- in some cultures, more valued than virginity!


  1. Hope DH realizes he's one lucky guy to have you as his DW and personal baker! ABA

  2. Stop by DH's office today, because I have a feeling there may be piece of pie with your name on it!

  3. I had a slice of Susan's cake, courtesy of her dear husband. It was a piquant taste sensation--a tart yet sweetly succulent burst of cherry, in a light emulsifying gel holding the filling together, sandwiched in a chewy and deliciously moist crust. Another taste-sensation dessert, titillating enough to embolden George Washington-like figures to chop down other cherry trees and then lie about it, in the hopes that Susan will surreptitiously employ the fallen fruit in more of her pies.

    Gorgin' George in Manhattan

  4. Alec: You have a way with words (and flattery)! Thanks and you've just guaranteed yourself a piece of everything DH brings to work from here on forward.