How is love like cherry pie?
It's not a riddle. Not of the raven-and-writing-desk variety, at least.
I ask, because I've been listening to a lot of music on Pandora lately (blame bar review), and for whatever reason, various versions of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" keep appearing on my catch-all radio station.
The song is from the point of view of an obsessed fangirl, singing to the object of her adoration, and it has the line "Loving you is cherry pie."
Given that the lyrics of most pop songs seem to be, at best, an afterthought, you'd think I wouldn't devote too much energy to pondering that line. Still, I can't decide if it's her way of saying "easy as pie," a reference to circus slang, or complete and total nonsense written because it would scan.
It can't be a direct metaphor. Surely she's not saying that being an obsessed fangirl is like eating gluggy, sticky-sweet fruit encased in gummy pastry?
My assessment of cherry pie might be overly harsh. Maybe I just haven't eaten good cherry pie. What I know is that all the specimens I've encountered seem to have been loaded with cornstarch and sugar to the point where the cherries themselves seemed completely irrelevant - a crime against fruit.
Instead, let me propose a cherry granita: macerate cherries with sugar, citrus and a tiny bit of alcohol; blend with water until smooth; pour into a shallow dish and break it up with a fork as it freezes. Of all the members of the ice-cream family, granita is the most undemanding - absolutely no ice-cream maker required.
I offer this observation to Lady Gaga: fangirl love isn't like cherry pie. It's really more like cherry granita, light and sweet and a little insubstantial. Even if it doesn't scan.
Sweet Cherry Granita
I maintain that a cherry pitter is only a sensible purchase if you have a lot of cherries to pit - we're talking annual-giant-batch-of-cherry-preserves quantities. A paring knife works just fine for a pound or two, and won't spray cherry juice everywhere, to boot. Please, do not run out to buy a cherry pitter just for this recipe.
(Makes four cups. Keeps for a week or two in a covered container in the freezer.)
Start with a pound of washed and stemmed cherries. Use a paring knife cut the cherries in half, and scoop out the stones with your fingers. Put the cherries in a big bowl.
Add the juice from one lemon and the juice from one lime, and sprinkle over two to three tablespoons of sugar, depending on the sweetness of your cherries. Add half a teaspoon of amaretto. Give the mixture a good stir, and let it sit undisturbed in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Once the cherries are well-macerated and syrupy, throw in them in a food processor or blender with half a cup of water, and process until you have a smooth puree.
Pour the cherry puree into a shallow baking dish or large cake tin. (Just about anything goes, as long as it's freezer-safe and has a large surface area.) Put the container in the freezer.
Check on the mixture every hour or so, and use a fork to break up the mixture as it sets around the edges. Once the mixture has fully frozen, transfer it to a container with a lid.
To serve, scoop the granita into bowls or glasses. For an interesting dessert-meets-cocktail effect, drizzle with a touch of Campari before serving.