When Life Gives You Cherries
Social media can be a good thing. I believe it can be used for positive reasons. And this past week, it worked well for me in that regard. My Facebook friend, Ruth, who I have known since college and who also lives in this town, put out the word that her cherry tree was filled with cherries and ready for the picking. We love tart cherries so I immediately responded to her post, letting her know I would come by in the morning to pick some.
I no longer know Ruth well. But two of her four daughters worked for me at the bakery and, of course, we talked about family while we went about our tasks in the kitchen. I could tell by their stories that Ruth was an important part of her daughters’ lives and was giving them a great foundation to build their lives on. Without ever hearing the word from them, I knew that they were deeply loved by their mother. Now, both of them have babies and, from Facebook, I know that Ruth grandmothers as well as she mothers.
But back to the cherries. I got out my bike, threw a plastic container in its basket and pedaled off to find the cherry tree. I arrived at the house where I thought they lived, but everything was quiet and I saw no one. I walked around the house to find the cherry tree but there was none. All of a sudden, I realized that they had moved. So I got back on my bike and pedaled a little further until I found their new place. Here, things were as they should be. I added my bike to the van and bike already parked in the drive, then saw the note taped to the front door: “Cherry picking in the backyard!” With my container in hand, I walked around to the back, was greeted by Ruth with a hug, and joined the young man already picking with his two boys. The tree was large and loaded. As I pulled down the branches to pick, and clambered up the wooden ladder to get even more, I remembered picking cherries when I was young and how we looped the stems over our ears, pretending to have cherry earrings.
As the family grouping left, another woman arrived. I plucked the tart cherries off their stems, one by one, slowly filling my container. I breathed in deeply the morning air and the gentle chattering around me, and, already, I dreamed about the dish that the cherries might go in. When I was satisfied, I thanked Ruth, and off I went on my bike with the cherries.
Once home, I finally decided upon a recipe to make for our lunch that day. I pitted the cherries with a paperclip, letting the juice drip through my fingers, mixed the rest of the ingredients, placed them in individual ramekins and put them in the oven. Oh, those cherries! Nothing quite compares to that warm mixture of sweet and tart, and knowing that the cherries were picked only a couple of hours before they were eaten.
There will be more years and more tart cherries. If you want to make this dessert, here is the recipe.
Cherry Biscuit Cobbler (for 4 individual ramekins)
½ c. white flour
1 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 T. butter, softened or melted
¼ c. milk
2 c. tart cherries, pitted
6 T. sugar
1 ½ T. minute tapioca
1 ½ T. lemon juice
Grease well the four ramekins.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the cherries, sugar, tapioca and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in another small bowl. With a fork, stir in the butter until the mixture has lumps the size of peas. Stir in the milk, just until smooth.
With two spoons, plop some dough on the bottom of each ramekin, leaving enough to put a few dollops on the top. Divide the cherry mixture between the four ramekins. Plop the rest of the dough on top of the cherries. Drop a few dabs of butter on the very top. Place the ramekins on a pan to catch drips and put in the oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cherries are bubbling and the top is starting to brown. Eat while still warm.