Several posts back, there is an entry about how much I like dragons (maybe because they are medieval) and how much I like cherries, mostly for their rich color.
Did I tell you I signed up for an art class this semester? One of the things we will be required to draw for our portfolio is monsters. I hope they let us draw friendly monsters, because I envision a dragon with sleepy eyes, resting beside a big basket of cherries, perhaps leaned against the walls of a dark stone castle.
We had our first class this week (Tuesday and Thursday evenings) and I must tell you about it. It was an amazing introduction to a world that I know so little about. If they’d done a scan of my brain during those 2.5 hours of class, the scan would be lit like a Christmas tree. It was heaven. Our professor, this fascinating man named Brian Curtis, gave us a list of books to read, many of which have nothing to do with Art…that will help us not to think. Yep, that’s right. Apparently, to be good at perceptual drawing, you have to stop thinking.
We learned about the right and left brain…and how the right brain is female. Ninety percent of who we are is in the right brain and we don’t even use it that much. You’re supposed to use the right brain when you draw. Our professor promised us that we will learn to use our right brains when we draw, instead of the logical and linear left brain.
Pie crust recipe (Pâte brisée)
2½ cups (350 grams/12.3 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks/227 grams) cold butter, cut into small cubes
¼ – ½ cup (60-120 ml) very cold water
Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor for a few seconds until combined (Instead of food processor, you can do the whole process by hand, using a pastry cutter). Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal (different size of butter pieces or some large pieces is fine), about 15 pulses. Add ¼ cup water and keep pulsing, adding more water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough isn’t dry and starts to clump together. Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed, rather the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps. Another way to check if it’s done, is to take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs – the dough should stick well together without feeling dry or crumbly.
Turn the dough to a floured surface and form into a ball. It should come together easily without being sticky. Divide ball to half, then flatten each one slightly with your hands to form a 1-inch thick disc. Wrap each disc with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding with your pie recipe.
If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to a month, then thaw it overnight in the fridge.
Roll out the dough: Take one disc of dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch circle. Place the dough gently into a 9-inch pie pan; you can do this by flouring a rolling pin and rolling the dough loosely around it, then unrolling it into the pan. Brush away any excess flour on the surface. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Roll out the other disc in the same fashion, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
5 cups stemmed and pitted fresh dark sweet or sour cherries (that’s about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)
¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar for sweet cherries, or 1 cup (200 g) for sour cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for sweet cherries, or 1½ teaspoons for sour cherries
Grated zest from ½ lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Kirsch, optional
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into mini cubes
Cream or milk, for brushing the top crust
Coarse or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in cherries. Add lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, and Kirsch and mix to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the lower third of the oven.
Spread cherry filling in an even layer onto pie crust, and dot with butter on top. If you choose to make a lattice pie, this is how you do it. Otherwise, place the second crust over the filling. Tuck any excess overhang pastry under the bottom crust, then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Make 4 slits in the center to let steam escape while baking. Brush the crust with a thin coating of milk or cream, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F/190C and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling through the slits, about 40-50 minutes longer. Cover the edges of the pie loosely with foil if it starts browning too much while baking.
Allow pie to cool for at least 4 hours before serving so that the filling can set. Store pie in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Numa postagem anterior comentei que adoro dragões e cerejas—juntos. Para mim, os dois combinam perfeitamente. Este semestre eu me inscrevi numa aula de arte e o professor é um gênio. Na primeira aula aprendemos que o lado direito do cerebro ê considerado o lado feminino e o lado esquerdo é masculino. As pessoas que utilizam o lado direito tendem ser melhores artistas. Noventa porcento de quem somos, vem do lado direito do cerebro. Mas, mesmo assim, as pessoas usam muito pouco este lado. Por isto o nosso professor vai nos ensinar como pensar com o lado direito do cerebro. Não será fácil. Passaremos por momentos de frustração. Mas o Professor Brian Curtis explica que a tensão nos pode ser útil. Ele prometeu que até o final do semestre cada um de nós vai saber desenhar.
O que que isto tudo tem a ver com dragões e cerejas? É que o portfólio que temos que entregar no final do semestre vai ter que incluir desenho de monstros. Eu pretendo desenhar um dragão sonolento ao lado de uma cesta de cerejas.