Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Montmorency cherries are sour pie cherries that are hard to find because the industrial processors buy them up. Stony Creek Winery in Ontario used to make a nice Montmorency wine. McDonald's has cherry pie turnovers but they are mostly glairy filling with red colorent. Montmorency is not a true, red, sour cherry, but is much more reliable on Lotus Island than the Morello which is red and prettier. It's still a fact that flavour trumps appearance, though the consumer sometimes becomes seduced otherwise. We have a productive 30 year old Montmorency tree and the birds leave the cherries alone long enough for us to pick them ripe, unlike the sweet cherries. With the sweet cherries the birds are voracious and eat them well ahead of ripening. Today, I made several deep dish cherry crisps and was going to make further ones but the pianist wanted some Ziploc freezer bags of cherry topping for sour cream dessert so I froze cherry filling for toppings as well. The biggest problem with cherry pie making, is stone removal. It is tedious but can be lessened by a process I invented, which is, during the picking of the ripe fruit, a little eccentric pressure on the fruit when you pull, will leave the stone on the tree. A certain finesse and dexterity is necessary ! Speed of processing is necessary as the cherry juice darkens (oxidizes) quickly. Therefore, hurry getting the stones out that you didn't leave on the tree.. I always warn strangers to chomp the cherry pie softly since I always miss a couple of stones. Since it is only May here, the tree is just in bloom, so my pie making was from frozen stock of a year ago. You have to microwave fresh Montmorency cherries before you put them up in your pie since the fresh cherries don't cook down well coincident with your perfectly baked crust, unless pre-softened. On the other hand the frozen berries need less pre-softening. Cherry pie is a lot of work! There is no way that charming Billy Boy's intended could make or bake a cherry pie, quick as a wink, talented or not!