Happy Birthday America!

July 2, 2019

Next to Christmas, the 4thof July is my favorite holiday. It’s not so much about the cookouts, parades or fireworks that makes it so but this once a year national reminder that being an American is a precious gift that we too often take for granted. And it is nice to share that pride with family and friends on a day filled with all things Americana from hot dogs with all the trimmings to kites flying effortlessly through the air.

It’s a great time for family reunions too, another rite of summer and a chance to catch up with each other in person instead of virtually. Will we run out of things to say?

I like the share- the -cookout model for the 4thwhen everyone can bring a favorite dish. Baked beans, watermelon and deviled eggs are standbys along with hot dogs and hamburgers. I bring the pie…cherry pie, a plump beauty in a flaky crust decorated with pie dough stars. It’s best with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream while watching the fireworks overhead. So American…and as it should be. And at the end of the day I surprise everyone with these delicious and patriotic looking strawberries!

Red White and Blue 4thof July Strawberries

12 ounce bag white chocolate chips
1 quart large dry strawberries with stems attached
Coarse blue sanding sugar placed in a bowl

Place the white chocolate chips in a heat resistant bowl and place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Do not allow any water to touch the chocolate. Allow chips to melt. Stir to smooth out.

Hold the stem end and dip the lower half of the berries one at a time in the bowl of melted chocolate. Then dip the tip in the blue sugar. Allow the berries to dry on wax paper.

When dry, run a thin long toothpick or skewer through the stem end and stick the other end in the rind of a half of a cantaloupe, cut side down.

Cherry Pie For The 4thof July
Serves 8

Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter grated on a cheese grater’slargest holes
8 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
6-8 tablespoons cold water


3 pounds pitted sour cherries
1 to 1 ½ cups sugar (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest one lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process for 5 or 6 quick pulses. Add shortening and process for 5 or 6 quick pulses. Add just enough water through feed tube, using quick pulses to form a dough. Do not over-process If you can pick up a bit of dough and it holds together between your fingers, stop.Gather the dough into a disk and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half into a 12 -inch diameter. Fit it into a 9-inch pie pan.

Spoon the filling evenly over the crust.

Roll out the second piece of dough. Top with the cherry filling and pinch the edges of the crust between your fingers to seal it.

Re-roll and use the scrapes to make cut out stars for the top of the pie.

Brush the top of the pie with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any juicy drips.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack. Cut into wedges to serve.

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