Making Sweet Cherries Sour

White Chocolate–Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Pickled Cherries

dessert tray

Petite and perfectly round, ranging in color from stop-sign red to Burgundy wine, the sour cherries of the Hudson River Valley are tart but fruity. When you pit them, they’re shirt-stainingly juicy—but not too juicy or fleshy. These sour cherries are grown to be baked, their sharpness the perfect foil for buttery pastry and melting vanilla ice cream.

I first experienced sour cherries in a slice of lattice-crusted diner-style cherry pie. Thick, syrupy, and (paradoxically) saccharine, it didn’t set the bar too high for sour cherries or for cherry pie, but it still piqued my interest. It was later in my youth that I learned that sour cherries hold great importance for Iranians. Their growing season in Iran is as fleeting as it is here so folks preserve them in sugar syrup.

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Mr. 66

Butter-Toasted Almond-Amaretto Ice Cream with Sautéed Cherries

Cherry Sundaes
I see him everyday. He’s a constant that I appreciate. He’s stoic, not showing much outward feeling of pleasure or pain. He brightens my mornings, my evenings, and my weekends. I don’t know the mystery man’s name. To me he is just Mr. 66.

I have long had a fascination with commuters—my nameless companions and the strangers. My feet usually do the work in the mornings, but sometimes I take the bus. The 66 bus. The bus so infamous that it has it’s own fake twitter account. There are familiar visages in sight every morning. The sitting old, sour-faced woman whose nose scrunches up every time a young person’s backpack accidentally graces her face on the sardine-can of a morning commute. The young mother with the rhinestone-studded, electic blue iPhone case and her super stylin’ little boy, a 2-year-old Lebron James fan. There’s the guy who looks strikingly like someone I went to high school with and who is always biting off a cream cheese–filled plain bagel from Kupel’s. I know their stops, and they probably know mine.

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