Do you have a group of gals that you get together with every month? Whether it’s book club or wine night or just a mom’s night out? Well I am fortunate enough to have moved into this beautiful neighborhood 9 years ago, when my youngest was 2 weeks old. (Oh yes. That’s a WHOLE OTHER STORY! Who moves with a 2 week old?!!! Oiy vey!) Well, this neighborhood has a long tradition of playing Bunko. Now as people have moved out of the neighborhood and new (like me!) neighbors move in, the group has evolved. But to count, we have over half of the original members! It’s a beautiful excuse to get out, catch up with our lady friends, and roll some dice.
Well, when I joined over 7 years ago (I had to “work into my spot”, you know, by subbing and then getting voted in. 🙂 No. No (official) voting 😉 , but there was a stern talking to that it was a serious commitment that they expected you to come the first Tuesday of every month. I’m sure some people would need such guidelines as to the commitment but they didn’t know who they were talking to. I am a commitment kind of girl. If I say I am going to do something, I am going to do it! I rarely say no (I’m getting better about “no” in my old age) but I truly believe being reliable and consistent is such an important attribute in a friend. I don’t know where I learned this. I would guess it’s the values I grew up with in our family but I really value honesty, and reliability. I digress.
BUNKO! One of our founding ladies moved out of the area (we miss you Nicole!) and she was known to “bring the dessert” to the pot luck dinner. Well, look at that. I am well trained in bringing desserts! To every family gathering, my mom is the dessert lady. And we’re not talking run down to Costco and pick up that chocolate torte (though…ladies…and gentlemen…if you ARE running short on time, that brick of layered chocolate, cake and goodness at Costco is a WIN WIN! I’ve brought that layered chocolate torte few times when my schedule just didn’t allow for a homemade baked good. It’s definitely a winner.) My mom is KNOWN for her desserts. And you know why? 1. They are always homemade! And 2. She doesn’t just bring one. Or even two. She brings 3 dessert selections to every family gathering. It’s unreal, people. And here is where the term “sample plate” was created. Cuz, you can’t just have the Pecan Pie when there’s a freshly baked Apple Pie with Crumb Topping to ALSO TRY!!!! Or a Pumpkin Pie Dessert (no, not the standard Pumpkin Pie, though she does revert to the basics every once-in-a-while), a layered goodness with crust, pumpkin, some vanilla cake crumble with butter…AAAAHHHHH MAN! It’s worth every calorie and mile you have to run the next day!!!
So, when our Bunko needed a dessert lady, I stepped up to the plate. Between my family recipe cookbook and my handy dandy Pinterest board, I have LOTS of fun and new recipes to try on my Bunko Babes! What I choose all depends on the month, time of year, and what my little heart (or belly) is in the mood for. J
This month, I tried making a Cherry Pie for the first time. My mom’s friend Chris makes a DIVINE Cherry Pie and last time we were visiting the bay area, I asked Chris her secret. And you know what it was? Oregon Cherries in the can! Holy yes! I LIVE in Oregon! I must be able to get Oregon Cherries! She said they can be hard to find sometimes in the bay area. When I returned to Portland, I found them at our local Safeway and grabbed 2, 28 oz. cans, one to make for my Bunko girls, and one to keep on the shelf for the next summer gathering!
Now, that Chris didn’t give me her “Secret Recipe” but I found this one online and it was well received this last Tuesday at Bunko. I added a little sprinkle of organic sugar on top to give it a little finishing crunch but overall, easy and so tasty, especially topped with my girlfriend, Kirsten’s homemade vanilla ice cream!!! Yummmmmmmm!!!!
Cherry Pie with Canned Oregon Cherries
- 2, 18” pie crusts (My go to is Trader Joe’s Pie Crust in the freezer section)
- 12, 14.5 oz cans of Cherries, reserving 1c juice (I used one 28oz can)
- 1 c sugar
- 3 T corn starch
- 1 T butter
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
- Red food coloring, if desired (I did not used red food coloring)
- 1 T raw sugar
Drain cherries and reserve 1 cup of liquid. Combine sugar and starch is a small pan. Over medium heat, gradually add the reserved 1 cup liquid until smooth. Heat till the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, starting to get a bit clear. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, cherries, almond extract and food coloring (if using). Pour into prepared crust. Top with ventilated crust or lattice top crust. Sprinkle some Organic Raw Sugar on top. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Turn temp to 350 and cook another 20-30 minutes till the crust is brown and flaky. Cool. Serve as is or a la mode with vanilla ice cream!