{sms} Fresh Cherry Pie with Pistachio Crumble (+ Ice Cream)


I love fresh cherries. When in season, I buy buckets and buckets of them from the farmers’ market.  Per baking lore, sour cherries are the variety used in pies. Unfortunately, in Southern California we only have sweet cherries.

The only time I’ve seen fresh sour cherries was when I picked them myself while on vacation in Upstate New York at Hick’s Orchard. If you’re ever in the Adirondacks near Lake George check them out. When in season, they have sour cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, plums, pears, and pumpkins.


The very first pie I baked was a Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust made with those cherries in the above picture. It was the cover recipe on the June 2008 issue of Bon Appetit. It was also the subject of one of my first blog posts.  You can see my pie HERE. If you do have access to fresh sour cherries, make this pie because it was amazing.

I don’t know why it’s better to use sour/tart cherries in baking. Is it because the size (sweet cherries are larger)? Is it because the sweet/tart factor (you can always adjust added sugar)? Is it the liquid (sour cherries are more watery)?  I’ve baked with both and have great results with both.


This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection is the Sour Cherry Pie with Pistachio Crumble. Melissa Murphy the author of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book and owner of the  Sweet Melissa Pâtisseries says this recipe is her favorite. And I can see why. The crunch of the pistachios in the crumble topping adds texture to the sweetness of the cherry filling.


Because I wanted to use fresh, locally-grown cherries for my pie I used sweet cherries. I used two types: Rainier and Brooks. I also used my mini-pie plates.


The suggested piecrust was the Flaky Pie Dough. The recipe uses a higher proportion of shortening to achieve flakiness. It actually has more shortening than butter. So the crust was nice and flaky, it didn’t have a lot of taste. I prefer taste over flakiness. It also didn’t have any sugar. In retrospect, I should have added sugar.


I had extra pie filling and pistachio topping so I baked some cherry crumbles in ramekins which I topped with Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream. The recipe for the ice cream comes from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and is so delicious. The base is steeped with finely chopped toasted almonds and then coarsely chopped toasted almonds are added in the last two minutes of churning.  Chopped candied cherries are folded in when the ice cream is done churning. To up the cherry flavoring in the ice cream, I added natural cherry extract. YUM. If you love almonds and love cherries, you will love this ice cream.


Thank you to Michelle of Flourchild for choosing this recipe as we bake our way through the book. It was a great choice. A definite winner that deserves a full-size bake from me another time. If you want the recipe you can find it on Michelle’s blog or HERE.


Curried Tempeh-Mango Salad (and Chocolate Chip Cookies)

curried tempah mango salad

I bought tempeh for the first time and was flipping through Vegan with a Vengeance looking for  recipes and saw this one: Curried Tempeh-Mango Salad.  In addition to the tempeh, I had a mango or two that needed to be used . You can read about my relationship with mangoes in yesterday’s post (I bought four just to be safe).

What’s cool about this recipe is that the longer it sits in the refrigerator the better it tastes (flavors melding, etc), so leftovers are wonderful. I ate it in a pita. I’m sure it would be delicious on toasted bread, on naan, on a bed of lettuce. I think it would be good on anything! Crackers as an appetizer. The ideas are endless. I have a feeling I’m going to be making this all summer long. And you know the next time I make it, I’m going to double it.

You can find the recipe HERE.

I also made the Chocolate Chip Cookies out of Vegan with a Vengeance. As with most vegan cookie baking they were so delicious, so easy. I made them using whole-wheat pastry flour to give them a patina of health. Hee!

You can find the recipe HERE.

vegan choc chip cookie

See what Michele of Veggie Num Nums made for Vegan Tuesday HERE.

{twd} Fresh Mango Bread


Mangoes are my nemesis. Not in the eating department–I love them, especially with lime and chili powder. It’s the cutting and prepping that get me. I tend to get injured. I know in my head all the different techniques out there. The cutting off the sides and then scoring the mango into the size and shape you want, etc. The cutting off the bottom and then using serrated peeler to take off the skin. I even bought a mango splitter.


This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Fresh Mango Bread, required one mango cubed to yield 2 cups. I was so hoping my mango would yield two cups so I wouldn’t have to face the second mango. I was doubtful, my mango was not large. And yes, I was right. My mango only gave me a little over one cup.  I had to deal with a second mango.


Wrangling mangoes was worth it! Yum. The mango bread was delicious. In addition to the mangoes, the bread {and it’s bread in the sense that banana bread is bread} is spiced with ginger and flavored with lime zest. I added lime oil to boost the lime flavor.


The bread was delicious on its own, but it was also delicious with mango slices and ice cream. I did not make a special flavor this week. I did think about making ginger ice cream or mango frozen yogurt. My freezer is a bit full of ice cream right now. Even though I tend to make only half-recipes, that’s still a pint (plus more if there are a lot of mix-ins). I used leftover Crème Fraîche Ice Cream.

Thank you to Kelly of Baking with the Boys for choosing Fresh Mango Bread as we bake our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking…From My Home to Yours. This is one of the recipes I’ve been wanting to bake. If you want the recipe, please visit Kelly’s blog. 

{bba} Greek Celebration Bread: Christopsomos


Traditionally, Christopsomos is made for Christmas and literally translates from Greek as “Christ Bread“. Greek Celebration Bread and its variations was the next formula for me to bake as part of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge.

I made the poolish version and the dough came together and rose beautifully. It had a lot of ingredients! The most of any yeasted bread I’ve made. In addition to the usual (flour, salt, yeast, water) it included: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, orange extract, almond extract, eggs, honey, olive oil, whole milk, golden raisins, dried figs, and walnuts. This also marks the first time I added vital wheat gluten into my bread.


Because of all the spices and extracts the dough smelled wonderful. It almost made me want to eat it raw.


Uninspired to make a fancy design, the photo in the book shows a Christosomos shaped almost like an octopus, I made it in a loaf pan using the monkeybread method. I made 1.5 ounce balls. In retrospect, I probably should have made them smaller– one or 3/4 ounce.

When the bread came out of the oven I brushed it with the optional glaze (water, sugar, honey, orange extract) and sprinkled it with sesame seeds.

Greek celebration bread is too delicious. It is so delicious that I couldn’t stop myself from breaking off pieces (negative aspect of monekybread) and eating them while taking pictures of my loaf. YUM!

Whole Bread

Whole Bread

One piece "missing"

One piece "missing"

Multiple pieces "missing"

Multiple pieces "missing"

I’ve always loved Greek food and now I know I love Greek Celebration Bread. I will definitely make Greek Celebration Bread again. I know my Mom would love this. You can find the formula for Greek Celebration Bread and its variation in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

Thank you to Nicole of Pinch My Salt for organizing The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. You can find us on Twitter #bba or on Facebook BBA Challenge.

I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting, a weekly round-up of yeasted goods and bread.

{sms} Guinness Gingerbread and Ice Cream


This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays selection is Guinness Gingerbread. I made a half recipe and baked it in an 8×8-inch pan. The recipe also said to simmer the Guiness in a saucepan. I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to dirty another pan. I don’t know if it affected the outcome.The gingerbread tasted great. Not as good as the Fresh Ginger & Chocolate Gingerbread I made in January, but it was good.

I decided to make Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop this week. In high school, I had to read John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. One thing I always remember from the book is beer milkshakes. We giggled over that in class. Anyway, this ice cream makes me think of beer milkshakes and Cannery Row.You can find the recipe for the ice cream HERE.

Thank you to Katie of Katiecakes for selecting this delicious recipe as we bake our way through The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. Please visit her blog for the recipe.

guin ice cream