Monday, August 3, 2015

Engagement Mini Cherry Pies

Life has many milestones. From graduating college and grad school to baking my first cupcake to buying a dog, I had hit most of the important ones. But the biggie still remained. Following a year dating in college, the better part of a decade remaining really close friends, over two years of being back together, and moving halfway across the country to start a life together, it was time to make things with Robin super official.

After 10 years, these thought bubbles still hold (fortunately, my predilection for Lincoln beards does not).
With Robin's family medicine residency now over and her about to begin her new job as a full fledged smarty-pants Doctor, the timing seemed perfect to embark on the next phase of our relationship. Over the last ten years, I've been amazed watching her grow from a Freshman in college to the accomplished woman she is today, and I couldn't be prouder. In order to properly kick-off this momentous occasion in our lives, I decided to reimagine our first time baking together during our wonderfully awkward flirty but not together period circa 2011.

Would my cupcakey ode to our Cherry Pie of long ago be enough to convince her to spend the rest of her life with me, or did I totally misread this whole living together thing?

Engagement Mini Cherry Pies
Adapted from Table Spoon and Food Network
Delicious, if not overly romantic filling.
Servings: 12 mini pies
Time: 90 minutes

4 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts
2 cups tart cherries
2 1/2 cups dark sweet cherries
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
3/8 tsp-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 egg, whisked

I was going to prove myself to be a worthy homemaker, if it was the last thing I did!
  1. Spend ten years being best friends with the awesomest, smartest girl around.
  2. Realize that savings accounts are for losers, and buy a ring.
  3. Freak out about how you're going to propose and almost ruin it until your sister calms you down and talks sense into you.
  4. Look back on your fond memories of your first time baking together with your love.
  5. Wait for her to go to work then try to make as little mess as possible in the kitchen for once.
  6. Heat the cherries in a covered medium saucepan over medium-low heat until a fair amount of juice forms (about 5 minutes).
  7. Sift the cornstarch and sugar together. Then stir it into the mix until well incorporated. 
  8. Mix in the almond extract and continue cooking until it thickens, stirring frequently.
  9. If it gets too thick, add small amounts of water. If it won't thicken up, add small amounts of cornstarch.
  10. Let cool to room temp (or hide in the back of the fridge until she goes to sleep).
  11. Wake up super early, but, whatever. It's not like you really slept much anyway.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  13. Roll out the pie crusts and cut out twelve 4" discs. Press the discs into greased muffin tins so that they are just sticking out.
  14. Fill each almost completely with your cherry mixture. 
  15. Cut 6 thin strips to from the lattice of each pie and weave delicately. Press the ends of the lattice into the main crust to bring the two together. Marvel at how truly bad your lattice making abilities are, and make a heart-shaped one just in case.
  16. Brush the tops with your egg mix.
  17. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. (Note: I found it quite helpful to pace around the kitchen while waiting. By 8 am, I had already logged over a mile in my kitchen alone.)
  18. Somehow manage not to trip over the stairs or your dog and successfully carry the secretly purchased breakfast tray and its contents to your sleeping future Mrs..
  19. Live happily ever after.
A Pictorial Proposal History

I had some painstaking choices to make. This proposal needed perfection and my lattice skills were not on point.
Oh no, the cappuccino foam was super flat! Proposal ruined!!!!
Luckily, I had two secret weapons in the book and the ring.
At last, a use for the My Mess Their Kitchen Game!
I'm sure Robin greatly appreciated not having to get out of bed for any of this.
Of course she said yes after those delicious pies. 
Maggie was especially thrilled that her parents were finally getting married (or maybe that there was food in the bed. We'll never know.)
My breakfast in bed proposal was a resounding success that will surely be spoken of for generations to come (I'm currently preparing the version I will tell as a crazy old man in front of a fireplace surrounded by our grandchildren during the holidays). The mini pies were just as delicious and even more whimsical than the first time we made the full-sized version, but, most importantly, she said yes! I drove myself crazy trying to figure out how to propose, but really all I had to do was pick something decidedly us. Unfortunately, proposing early in bed while living on the East Coast, meant we had to wait a while before we could spread the wonderful news, but we had some truly delightful cherry pies to keep us busy until then. 

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