Last month, we picked a whole bunch of cherries from Carver Hill Orchard in Stow, same as last year. As I popped out the stems, rolling the orbs around in my mouth and pushing the stones out with my tongue, I thought about what flavors would work well with them. Almonds, I thought. Maybe the woodsy character of fresh rosemary.
So, I got to work on a tart. I stripped the leaves from a sprig of rosemary into a mortar filled with sugar and ground it with a pestle until the leaves just started to abrade. The idea was for the essential oils to be transferred to the sugar so the leaves could be sifted out. I made a lovely lard crust, loaded it up with the pitted cherries and rosemary sugar, and sprinkled it with slivered almonds. The result?
DIS. GUS. TING.
It was the worst pie I’ve ever made. Ever. The herbal “tinge” I was going for was harsh and overwhelming. Like cough syrup, but chunky. I would have sooner eaten chicken fried in castor oil. (I did eat the crust, though. At least that which was untainted with the blood of a thousand defiled cherries). I really hope this new trend of mine, to derive culinary inspiration from the field of medicine, is only temporary.