What a lovely summer it has been so far. The beer garden with new friends, Big Apple BBQ with old friends. Dinner with the husband on the rooftop at The Nomad. A truly inspiring dance performance from Cedar Lake Dance Company. And last week, my new baby nephew was born. I feel full of love and joy.
Plus, the greenmarkets have been full of delicious produce--with especially gorgeous cherries lately. I took home way too many (if there can be such a thing) and had to come up with a few ways to use them up before they went bad.
First up I made a mini cherry pie. I used my small cast iron pan instead of a pie pan, since Joe and I have a hard time eating a whole pie before it goes bad. This was a perfect little size. I halved the recipe from over at Smitten Kitchen and used half of the flaky butter crust recipe. I liked the idea of using a star cookie cutter to cut out shapes for the top instead of having to weave a lattice crust--easy and fast.
Next up, I used some more cherries to create a bourbon soaked batch to use for cocktails. This is the third year in a row I have been doing this and usually end up with just enough to make it through the year of manhattans and old fashioneds that we whip up. I like to throw in a bit of the spiced bourbon from the cherries into the cocktails before I shake them or drizzle it over of ice cream for a boozy dessert.
Bourbon Soaked Cocktail Cherries
1/4 c. turbinado sugar
1/4 c. water
1/2 cinnamon stick
3/4 c. bourbon
1/2 t. vanilla extract
2 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 c. pitted cherries
1 quart jar, sterilized
Place the sugar, water and cinnamon stick into a small saucepan. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and then stir in the bourbon, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Place the cherries into the quart jar *. Remove the cinnamon stick from the bourbon mixture and pour into the quart jar over the cherries. Place the lid on the jar and place in the fridge. Allow to sit for at least two weeks before using.