Friday, 30 June 2017

can she make a cherry pie

Tins of Waitrose Essential red kidney beans do look awfully like tins of Waitrose Essential cherries. This was pointed out to me by the Systems Administrator, who had been nearly fooled into thinking we had the ingredients for a chilli con carne when we hadn't (though some enterprising restaurant is probably about to dish up ground beef and black cherries laced with chilli powder).  The SA was right, both have white labels with red blobs on them, the cherries being rounder and the beans longer.  If you were in a hurry it would be quite easy to tug the ring pull and break the seal before you noticed your mistake, though luckily the SA hasn't so far.

I said that when we had a couple of wet days and I caught up with the domestic jobs I had been meaning, and the SA leaped in asking if I had been meaning to make one of my cherry puddings.  I said that actually I had been meaning to tidy up the cupboard in the kitchen so that the tins weren't all muddled up.  At some point of course I was meaning to make another pie, or I wouldn't have bought the tin of cherries, but I didn't have any timescale in mind.  I like to keep a tin of essential pitted black cherries in light syrup in stock because tinned cherries are one of those things supermarkets don't always have when you want them, or you have to make do with the ones with stones in and spend ages destoning them, or buy Epicure cherries which cost approximately two and a half times as much as Waitrose Essential and taste absolutely the same by the time they have been cooked.

The recipe actually specifies fresh cherries.  I tried using them once, and decided that by the time they had been boiled with cherry jam I couldn't tell the difference, and since they cost a lot more and taking stones out of fresh cherries is even slower than taking them out of tinned ones I wasn't going to bother again.  It is Dan Lepard's cherry and polenta pudding from his baking book Short and Sweet, an excellent book which I recommend highly.  You make a fairly moist sponge containing polenta and ground almonds, more of the latter than the former although he calls is cherry and polenta pudding, make furrows in the raw sponge with a teaspoon and fill them with a cherry compote.

I have deviated from his instructions on making the compote, apart from substituting the tinned cherries.  He says to boil the cherries until the moisture is mostly gone.  I found that the more you boil a cherry the more moisture comes out, and after about a quarter of an hour of waiting for my compote to show any signs of thickening I used a teaspoon of cornflour to hurry things along.  I have used cornflower ever since.  Cookery writers often sneer at it, apart from Ken Hom who has probably sold more books than most of them, but as long as you cook the compote for five minutes after adding the cornflower you don't taste it at all, and you end up with sponge containing discrete seams of cherry rather than pink sponge soaked in cherry juice.

If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the way to a cooks' must be in part to request by name something out of their repertoire.  Who could resist the plea, I like your cherry pudding? I made one this morning, after putting what I hope are the final details on the music society website.

Addendum  When I wrote about my non-addictive not-iPhone I failed to mention its new and slightly creepy habit.  Obviously it knows where I am, when it is allowed to come with me, but it has recently made it explicit that it isn't content to stop with a simple grid coordinate.  Review your visit to Tesco, it demands.  Is the White Hart in Boxford a romantic venue?  Sometimes it just wants me to tick a box, yes, no, don't know.  Sometimes it wants me to type a review.  A review of Tesco or Tate Modern.  On my phone.  Is it serious?  Most bafflingly, it wanted a review of the West Mersea Community Centre.  I don't know what I was supposed to put.  The microphone stand has to be jammed with a piece of paper to stay upright.  I wonder if it has any sense of tact, or if the next time I go to a funeral it will ask me to review the crematorium.

I don't post any reviews.  Keeping a blog is quite enough writing, and I get to do that on a proper keyboard.  I am a freeloader when it comes to other people's photos, though.  Oh look, there's a church with a round tower somewhere around here.  Another really cute church with good tombs. A Norfolk broad, since we are in Norfolk.  Truly technology is wonderful.

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