What foods conjure up your childhood memories?
I don’t know whether to call them food memories or food associations…but when I am waxing nostalgic, food is invariably connected. Those foods in my memories are always delicious and perfect – although, I have my doubts about a few of them. Could the “Spam-bled eggs” of our 1970s era family camping trips really be all that I remember them to be? Or is it more about the time and the place and being together with those you love?
Joanne English, my Mom, Me & Kryn circa 1970-something? at the Jersey Shore.
There are some dishes, however, that have transcended the decades and truly are all I remember them to be. One of those are Joanne English’s Cherry Squares. I grew up two doors away from the English family, another big crazy family, just like mine. Their daughter, Kryn, was my age and we had tons fun together with the whole neighborhood crew. The Englishs are those kind of friends that you’ve known for so long they seem more like family. When I think about them, I think of parties, lots of laughs, abundant libations, bluefish (ugh!), lemon Blennd drinks, some kind of chocolate cake with chocolate chip cheesecake filling (need to have that recipe Mrs. E!) and cherry squares!
Cherry squares are a thin sheet pound cake that gets dollops of cherry pie filling placed on them before they are baked. As they bake the cherries nestle down into the cake in a most magical way. You cut them into squares and sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Since the cake is somewhat dense, you can pick them right up with your hands. They are great for parties!
I haven’t made cherry squares for a while and decided I wanted to try making a homemade cherry filling using the fresh summer cherries that are everywhere right now. I also tweaked the measurements of the recipe so I could use my half-sheet pans. I think the original recipe was made in a smaller jelly roll pan. I also made a mascarpone whipped cream to serve with them, which really is gilding the lily, as they are pretty yummy all by themselves!
Here’s the recipe card from my Mom’s recipe box. I think the original sugar amount was 1 1/2 cups. Mom always tweaks the sugar down a bit in recipes.