The cherry truck has arrived, and mom is breaking out pie dough, canning jars and popsicle molds to commemorate the occasion.
Things worth waiting for: a well made espresso, tomatoes to turn green, Christmas morning… and when cherries are in season in July. Ok, ok not all of those are of equal value, but close enough! Southerners know our limits. One of those limits is knowing we grow beef more easily than cherries. So, when that truck loads them up and heads to our local HEB, we bow and surrender our dollars. Close enough…
What are we reading?
Truly, we are at the heat of the summer and fanfare is being made of many simple things. Namely, popsicles and good books. Majorie Priceman’s stories on the true nature of baking has been a joy for mom and child alike. Her books, “How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA” and “How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World” make the average consumer mom recognize the elements of cooking. It also lightly explains to a child the efforts of bringing those elements together. Each bite of pie should be appreciated, should it not?
Another plus is having something red and tasty other than the 200 lbs. of tomatoes sitting on my porch. It truly has been a summer of abundance. More on that HERE.
How I prepped for Bunny Book Club
My son is three and a half and I have begun to transfer him from his “Bunny Book Club” days to “Forest School” days. Bunny Book Club has been a great tool for getting him excited about reading and tying concepts in books to things in real life. This was done in recipes, exploring the garden, making crafts, having treasure hunts and more.
I now use the characters in the books to drive towards homeschooling. Today, for example, we practiced driving on the train tracks with our blue marker, like Thomas. Then Percy, the green marker, got a chance to ride the capital “C” route, but was far too silly and wobbly. James brought up the real with red. We snipped with scissors, we differentiated letters and we ended the “C” session with “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type”.
The summer was a great opportunity to make the switch as the heat peaked, and the sister hung dearly to her morning nap. We’ll see how fall goes, but for… cherry pie!
For the crust:
1 ¼ c flour
¼ tsp salt
6 TB butter
6-8 TB ice water
For the filling:
3 cups of halved, pitted cherries (We used bing!)
2 TB lemon juice (omit with tart cherries)
¼ c sweetener: cane sugar, honey, etc.
1 egg scrambled, for wash
1 TB cane sugar, for topping
- Prepare filling: pit and half cherries, add to pot with lemon juice and sweetener. Allow to simmer until cooked down and thickened. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare crust: mix flour with salt. Cut in cold butter with a fork or in a food processor until pea size or smaller. Add cold water until the dough comes together. Be careful not to over handle! Chill for 30 minutes or longer.
- Prepare pies: Roll out dough to a 1/4″ thickness. Cut in rectangles or use a biscuit cutter to form circles. Place a spoonful of jam in the center of the dough. Fold over the rectangle or add a top for circles. Crimp edges with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Brush pies with beaten egg, sprinkle sugar on top and bake for 15 minutes or till golden.
What can our toddler learn?
Before there are even sticky, pink fingers to wash, there are many ways we can involve kiddos in this recipe. I’ve been a big advocate for, in safe ways, encouraging my toddler to continue to level up in the kitchen. Sometimes, it is teaching a new skill. Sometimes, it is mom taking one more step back. Many times, it is just being more ok with being on team clean up instead of team baking.
We broke up this activity into all of its elements this week. One day, we washed, destemmed cherries and practiced using tongs. Then, my toddler loved the cherry pitter. Mom of the week for just owning that gadget. Mom cooked down the cherries after toddler measured the lemon juice and sugar. Pie crust day led to more measuring. Hand pie construction day meant rolling pins, self-control for filling, crimping and egg washing.
After we munched, I was primed to make aluminum foil pots and pans and some sort of cardboard kitchen appliance and move this construction meets baking party to the backyard mud area… But alas, there are never enough hours in a day!
Supplemental reading list
“How to make an apple pie and see the world” by Majorie Priceman
“Ice Cream” by Gail Gibbons
Other “C” books:
“Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type” by Doreen Cronin
“Cook-a-doodle-doo” by Berta and Elmer Hader
For more stories, visit “Bunny Book Club” on our homepage. For more book recommendations, visit our Amazon List.