Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TWD: Fold Over Cherry Torte

When I was very small, one of my most very favorite toys was a Fisher-Price kitchen. I didn't have all the accessories that went along with it, but I didn't really need them. I was happy to pretend with some of my mom's cooking utensils or with nothing at all.

I don't really remember what all I cranked out of that little kitchen. But, I do remember baking a bunch of cherry pies. You see, Cherry Pie was my dad's absolute favorite dessert. My mom made him cherry pies all the time, so of course... I had to make him cherry pies as well! (I'm talking imaginary cherry pies, obviously).

The relationship between my dad and I has changed a lot through the years. When I was small, the highlight of my day (and I'm sure my mom's too) was hearing his key in the front door. I remember my brothers and I scrambling to the foyer to greet him with hugs and kisses when he got home from work.

As I got a little older, I always enjoyed whatever time I could get to spend with him. He's not the type of guy that you would imagine upon meeting him that he's warm, loving, and affectionate. And with anyone else besides our immediate family, he's not really. But with my mom, my brothers and me he has never been afraid to show his love for us. Which, I know isn't always an easy emotion to express openly with those around you.  But, there were times when I don't really remember much about him. He worked long and hard hours to provide for our family, and to ensure that my mom was able to stay home with my brothers and I. And even at a young age, I never resented it. Somehow, I understood and it made sense.

By the time I was in high school and went off to college, to be honest, I didn't feel like I related to either of my parents. I was at that age: the teenage-y, angst-y age and I thought my parents had no clue what was going on. And I really didnt make any attempts to get close to them.

During and after college, I started to become friends with my parents. Especially my mom. Our relationship got better and closer and my relationship with my dad definitely grew stronger, but it wasn't until I started working for him/with him 6 years ago that our relationship really changed.

At first, it was kind of hard. I was used to a different dad. Not the work environment dad, but the at home dad. So, it was interesting for me to see him in a different role. Also, I took everything way too personal. There were a couple of moments that I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to bawl my eyes out, because he'd yelled at me or gotten upset with me over something. But, eventually, I evolved. I grew a backbone and instead of being a little apprehensive about speaking my mind around my dad (which I never did before), I started doing it all the time. (I'm sure he thinks I've copped a little bit of an attitude, but whatev).

People ask me all the time.. isn't it hard to work for your dad? And I always have the same response: It's not hard at all, it's great! My dad and have become so close. I can definitely tell him anything and everything now and I feel like I know him more on a personal level, rather just on a parent/child level. I also tell people that it's nice, because as a kid, he wasn't around as much as he would have liked, and so now, I get to spend everyday with him!

One of the best things about working with him and spending so much time with him, is I get to see how good of a person he really is. I'm not longer only exposed to him in the "dad" role, but I get to see him as others see him. I get to see how hard of a worker he truly is. How well respected he is by his colleagues and clients. If I had a nickel for every time a client expressed to me in private how much they respected my dad as a professional as well as a person, I'd have a much better shoe collection.

It warms my heart to see him do what he loves and I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to be apart of his daily work. His knowledge about his profession seems limitless and he's always willing to teach me new things and always pushes me out of my comfort zone to try more difficult things, and while sometimes I'm cussing him under my breath, because it's scary to learn new things, I'm always grateful in the end that he had the faith in me to give me such opportunities to grow and learn.

Aside from work, I've also grown an appreciation for my dad's generosity and his commitment to family. He's always willing to listen without judgement and offer up any advice or help he can give. He's not just a great father, he's a great man.

His birthday was Friday and I wanted to make him something Cherry related. Something that I might have whipped up in that imaginary kitchen of mine years ago. So, instead of trying to make two desserts one for Tuesdays with Dorie and one for my dad's birthday. I did a little substituting in the Tuesdays with Dorie recipe to make it more appealing to dad.

Honestly, it didn't really work for me. I'm not sure if it was the recipe, the execution or the cherries, but I suspect it was a combination of all three. Not a hit... I'll stick with my favorite cherry pie recipe for sure (actually, eating this cherry dessert made me crave my cherry pie, so I'm pretty sure I'll be making one of those for Thanksgiving this year)! But, it was an interesting idea and I had really high hopes for it.

My dad didn't complain. I'm pretty sure he's just happy to spend time with his family on his birthday. But, I was kinda disappointed that I didn't deliver with an excellent dessert to knock his socks off.

Happy Birthday Dad! I love you and appreciate you!

Fold Over Pear Cherry Torte
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen for Tuesdays with Dorie by Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen

First off, the absolute best part of this recipe was the pie crust. I used to hate the taste of pie crust, but now that I'm getting better at making it myself, Dorie's pie crust is out of this world! YUM!

Second off, I used frozen cherries in a baked good for the first time. BIG mistake. Just not tart enough for a pie. The cherries were so bland and blah.

I substituted frozen cherries (thawed and drained) for the pears and dried cherries for the raisins.

I was afraid of overfilling the pie with custardy filling, so I think I didn't fill it enough, because there just wasn't much custard or cream to the pie.

Not the worst thing I've ever made, but not the best either. Probably better with pears. Or with tarter cherries.

Recipe can be found by clicking this link.