I’ve been creating sad, superfluous loungewear out of old clothes for years. And that’s not my only problem. I’ve also been treating my parents’ home as a “haven for mementos”, and I have a deeply rooted book-hoarding problem. Marie Kondo has me figured out! I’m reading The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up and learning so much about myself.
I’m on my own. Back to living alone. And I’m taking the opportunity to reclaim my space. I have a lovely apartment but it’s been so buried in clutter for so many years that I haven’t been able to appreciate it. I’m letting Ms. Kondo and my generous and loving friend Juliet lead me to an organized home where I can appreciate the things I have and say goodbye to the things I don’t need. (By the way, I’m serious about appreciating my things. M.K. suggests I thank my accessories, for example, for making me beautiful as I take them off every night. Out loud. I love this weird woman.)
Besides the excessive loungewear and books, my apartment has a spare change issue. Piles and piles of coins litter my home on a regular basis. Mexican pesos. Euros. Danish krone. Even gorgeous American quarters are relegated to unloved, unruly mounds that drive me crazy. Sometimes I gather them into bowls. Sometimes I throw them out in a fit of rage. But Marie has helped me see. Coins aren’t meant to sit in piles. They don’t do anyone a bit of good gathering dust.
So I finally did something about it. New life. New me. Productive and proactive! I gathered the coins into a bag, walked up to Union Square, and dumped them into a Coinstar machine. After an embarrassing and very very loud transaction, I walked away with enough cash to buy three containers of shiny, ruby red sour cherries at the farmers’ market. I immediately pitted and froze two containers for future February fatigue fighting. The remaining gems became this glorious sour cherry and almond tart. I used a recipe that I had developed for Self magazine a few months back. So here I am. Trusting my Self and turning my pain into pie.
Sour-Cherry Almond Pie
Serves 8 to 10
This recipe is very very slightly adapted from a pie I developed for Self magazine.
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, divided
4-6 tablespoons ice-cold water
5 cups pitted sour cherries
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. In a food processor, combine almonds and sugar. Pulse until very finely ground. Add flour and 1/2 tsp salt; pulse to combine. Add 12 tablespoons of the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tbsp cold water; pulse until dough just comes together, adding up to 2 tbsp more water if necessary. Divide dough evenly between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Flatten them into 2 disks. Wrap disks and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
2. In a small saucepan, toss 2 cups of the cherries, brown sugar, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and use a potato masher to break down cherries. Cool completely.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough portion into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch fluted tart pan. Fold dough over edge of pan to reinforce edges. Place in freezer for 20 minutes. Roll remaining disk into an 11-inch circle. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut dough into 3/4-inch strips.
4 Chill strips until ready to assemble the tart. Heat oven to 400°. Stir remaining 3 cups cherries and 2 tbsp butter, and almond extract into cooled filling. Place pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add cherry filling. Top with pastry strips arranged in a lattice. Press edges of lattice into edge of pan to secure; trim excess dough. Brush top with beaten egg and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until filling is bubbling and pastry is golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer pie to a rack to cool completely before slicing.