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sour cherry crostata

"He was the first to recognize me, and to love what he saw."
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Baking pies is sort of my love letter to those I care about. My dad, husband, and father-in-law, in particular, appreciate everything I bake, and all of them share my passion for early summer fruit, especially the coveted sour cherries that we eagerly wait for each year.

For Father's Day I made a cherry crostata that I took to my grateful father-in-law. I couldn't resist making another one yesterday just for my husband. There is something therapeutic about rolling out the smooth dough on a floured surface, mixing sugar and spices and salt into a bowl full of fresh cherries. The act of assembling this dessert feels meditative in the quiet of my kitchen, as I fill the mound of dough with the fruit mixture, brush cream into the thick folds of dough, and sprinkle all of it generously with sparkling sugar that will lightly caramelize as the pie bakes and permeates the house with its warm aroma.

The scent of tart cherries bubbling and bleeding out of their buttery, flaky crust greets my husband when he arrives home. This morning I warm up a big slice of the pie and top it with cream, pour a fresh cup of strong coffee, and deliver breakfast in bed to him. I love to give him unexpected moments of happiness. Years ago he was the first person to see the extent of my imperfections, and to love me anyway.

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