Holiday bakes are fickle creatures. Just when it’s all about the pie, suddenly it’s not. And then you’re in the thick of jelly doughnuts until it begins snowing confectioners’ sugar and silver drageés. Pretty soon anything spiked with ginger or glittered in gold will be so, yawn, December.
Yesterday I considered spending the day with Pie, but Pie had other plans. So I reached out to Rugelach who has been feeling a bit blue post-Hanukkah. I tried to console the traditional crescent filled with jam, nuts, and dried fruit. “C’mon cookie, you’re the quintessential holiday cookie. You’re evergreen! There’s not a cookie tray in town that wouldn’t make room for you amidst the Spritz.” Facing a few pantry limitations and unwilling to return to Trader Joe’s before the weekend, I made some adjustments. Rugelach came around to the idea of a pineapple upside-down inspired flavor profile. Swapping out walnuts for pecans, and adding dried cherries to the mix, brown sugar stepped in last minute for cinnamon sugar. Rugelach brightened up considerably with the addition of pineapple preserves, confessing a long-term aversion to apricot. In the end, the pineapple-cherry-pecan crescent played nicely alongside all of the Gingers in the cookie tin. Much like pie, the buttery, cream cheese-y, flaky, jam-filled cookie that teeters on being pie is a true labor of love. Which is why keeping a few circles of the rich dough tucked away in the freezer is always a good idea. Pie returns tomorrow to celebrate a milestone of sorts, so be sure to check back.
Taking a pause on the pumpkin and visiting a not-so-secret stash of Hyline Orchard Farm Market cherries tucked away in the freezer. Hanukkah wants me to lean into the doughnuts and Christmas has made its cookie intentions abundantly clear. (All in good time, Christmas.) Granted, fresh cherry season is a wish and a dream away, but frozen cherries are available right now. Based on their color palate alone, cherries deserve a spot amidst your holiday bakes. (Avoid frozen cherries packed in sugar and steer clear of the neon sugar-drenched varieties emblazoning subpar commercial fruitcakes; the ones with a shelf life of forever.)
For those who feel baking and cocktail fixings should align, (and shouldn't they?) after you purchase some frozen cherries, pick up a jar of The Original Luxardo Maraschino Cherries, another holiday kitchen essential. Sure, you can try to use up the last of the cranberries purchased in a panic last week. But the bog berries are so Thanksgiving while cherries are so out-of-season appropriate right now. Yes, I'll be dabbling in cookie doughs soon enough but for now, I'm stealing my moment in the cherry sunshine and I've invited Pie to tag along. Because seldom, if ever, does anyone say, "No, thank you" to cherry pie; even in December.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm