This recipe is adapted from a long-time family favourite. Whether we were gathering for Christmas dinner, Easter lunch or just a casual dinner party, my Oma would be lovingly coerced to bring Cherry Delight. Failure to bring said dessert would result in chiding and lots of disapproving head shakes. I wouldn't go as far to say that Oma would be denied turkey, but maybe not the choice slices.
For as long as I can remember Oma would make it in her tried and trusted vintage baking pan. The kind made of tarnished waffle-textured tin. We'd all wait patiently as the tea and coffee was poured and the heirloom spoons were distributed and fought over. We'd sit there salivating as the pieces were carefully sliced and passed around. We weren't allowed to eat until everyone had their fair share, until piece after piece was passed down the table. My aunt always scraped off the cherry topping from her slice and handed it over to the closest wide-eyed cherry lover. My uncle eats his layer by layer. Oma always had a sliver and I would usually have two.
Graham cracker crust, simple cream cheese filling, topped off with cherry pie filling. Easy, fast, basic. To anyone else it's just another no-bake cheesecake, nothing special. To us it's an institution, a tradition, a phenomenon.
Many of the recipes I share with you are adaptations of family recipes. Opa's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Grandma's Grasshopper Pie. Oma's Lemon Loaf. Mom's Angel Icebox. I've even explored recipes my distant Dutch and Indonesian relatives would have enjoyed like Kue Lapis Legit and Speculaas Cookies.
Food is an integral part of our family history. Food is what brings a family together, be it at the end of a busy day or after years of distance. That's why it pleases me to tell you I have a lovely book to give away on this very subject!
From the Family Kitchen by Gena Philibert-Ortega is a beautiful exploration of how food defines us and shapes us. It talks about how recipes handed down generation to generation have become treasured traditions and even guarded family secrets. These recipes, whether hand-scrawled on stained index cards or dictated and translated countless times, have a story to tell us over the decades and offer special insight on our genealogy. This book even includes several recipes from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which demonstrate how much food changes with time, culture and circumstance. There's also a recipe journal included for you to document your own family's recipes and what special memories they're attached to.
The reason there are no photos of a slice is because lunch guests usually frown upon dessert that's been already hacked up. When I learned my aunt and cousin were coming for a timely visit, I knew it was a perfect chance to make my version of this family favourite. And, wouldn't you know it, even with my homemade Cherry Sauce, she still scraped the topping off and gave it to me!
I know, it's hot outside. I should be making ice cream, or popsicles, or lemonade. The last thing I should be doing is turning on the oven. But what if I made the doughnut version of lemonade? And what if I told you they only take five minutes to bake?
You'd forgive me right?
I thought so.
Not just any lemonade either. Cherry Lemonade. You'll find no boring old lemonade in this house. Actually you'll find no lemonade. Because I drank and/or ate it all.
I'm not sure what it is about lemonade that's just so undeniably refreshing. Maybe it's because it's best to drink it super cold with loads of ice cubes. Maybe it's because of that satisfying crack noise the ice makes when you drop each inside. Maybe it's because of those beads of condensation that form on the outside of the glass that make it all so inviting. Maybe it's because of the bendy straw you just have to drink it from so you don't get ice in your face every time you take a sip or because it's lemonade and it's wrong not to. Maybe it's because of that instinct you get to drink it on the porch since it's the closest you can get to lounging on a sunny beach somewhere with a floppy hat and oversized sunglasses.
Maybe it's a combination.
I always enjoy taking an classic recipe and mixing it up a bit. What could be more classic than lemonade? It's the new and improved pink lemonade! This version is just as refreshing, twice addictive and thrice adorable. Being that they're bite-sized they tend to disappear quickly. Get some before they're gone!
It's officially Summertime. There's always time when we're on Summertime. It's like a magical time zone where days are long and nights are cool. Where sunsets are made of cotton candy clouds and violet watercolour skies. Where the grass is green and the flowers greet you with a smile. Where the popsicles are always cold and the the sun is always hot.
The sun wakes up at 5am and doesn't go to sleep until 11pm. You can stay in bed til noon and still have enough time in the day to get everything done. People mow their lawns at 11pm and go grocery shopping at 7:30am.
Nap in the comfort of the warm sun. Let your ice cream melt. Roll down the windows and let the warm breeze get tangled in your hair. Get a sunglasses tan. Have dinner at 9pm. Track sand into the car. Get dirt under your nails. Who cares? We're on Summertime!
In the spirit of lazy Summer days I've made Cherry Almond White Chocolate Ice Cream. Pink and sweet just like a sunset.
Two of my very favourite things are in season right now. Cherries and lilacs. To celebrate I thought I'd combine the two.
I made you a Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart and planted my very own lilac bush.
The latter was no easy task. Let me explain.
First you must know that you should consider me a frugal person. Not cheap. Frugal. If I can spend little to no money on anything I'll go for it. Who wouldn't, right? There are things I do not scrimp on. Cream cheese for one – why anyone would put anything other than Philadelphia in their mouths is beyond me. Eyeglasses – Gucci, Armani, Versace yes please. Laptops – sorry, but I'm not going to let an off brand hard drive anywhere near all my photos, videos and documents for fear they might spontaneously combust.
Pretty much everything else is up for grabs. All the clothes hanging in my closet were either very reasonably priced or very much on sale. I compare prices on flour. All the boxes in my pantry are generic brand or the next best thing.
So you can understand why I was not about to spend money on something like a lilac bush when they grow free and wild. I was also not about to be caught cloak and dagger in my neighbour's backyard absconding with their precious lilacs, pail and trowel in hand. So we took a drive. A long drive. And wouldn't you know, the further we got outside the city the less and less prevalent the tiny little flowers became. We drove down muddy roads, over potholes and through neighbourhoods we had no business being in. No luck and no lilacs.
So after all that we ended up spending less money on a lilac bush at the garden center than we spent on gas to fuel our little adventure. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a lilac thief.
Biting into this delicious tart makes me feel loads better though. At least I have that.
I find myself pondering the things in life that I simply could not do without.
Everyday ordinary things that somehow have become integral to my very existence.
Like my iPhone. If I couldn't check my Twitter every hour you might find me shaking in a corner somewhere in a cold sweat. Or if I just couldn't play Tap Tap Revenge I'd probably start obsessively drumming three fingers on every and any surface I could get my rhythm deprived hands on.
My camera. Being a self-professed shutter bug I snap photos of lots of pretty things edible or otherwise. If it broke or got stolen one day I'd probably cry. Like ugly-face-desperate-air-gasping-cry.
My laptop. I've filled this baby to the brim with photos, music and videos. When people aren't looking I stroke it and whisper sweet nothings into its air vents. One of these days we're going to have a disagreement regarding the location of some very important files and I want to put that off for as long as possible.
My hair straightener. Without it my hair get's poofy and I will not walk through life with poofy hair. I just won't. I refuse.
Burt's Bees pomegranate rosemary lip balm. I can't stand lipstick and it makes kissing my fella far too complicated. This lip balm makes my lips just slightly redder and smooth plus it's pretty much all natural which is nice.
My fella, of course! You saw that coming right? Who else would laugh at my bad puns, warm up my feet when they're cold or eat the bits of leftover cake I levelled off the top?
Lucky for me this cake has all three of those last things. Now if it was just filled with iTunes cards I'd be laughing.