Here are two of my favorite desserts from Fred Harvey chefs that seem the right color and sweetness for, as my wife Diane (Black Bart) Ayres calls it, Valentime’s Day. One is from the recipe appendix for Appetite for America, the other more recently discovered in a secret Harvey chef archive.

Marinate one pint of strawberries, cut in half, in four tablespoons Jamaican rum for one hour. Bring three-quarters of a cup of strained honey, four tablespoons of lemon juice and the rind of one orange, cut into strips to boil; remove orange rind and combine flavored honey with strawberries. Serve over vanilla ice cream immediately. (Inspired by a sundae that a Harvey restaurant manager had at the Chicago world’s fair—which combined hot maple syrup and strawberries—this became the favorite dessert at Kansas City Union Station.)

Line pie plate with pie dough, fill half full with pitted cherries and bake in oven for about ten minutes. Fill to rim with homemade custard and finish baking in oven until set, for about another ten to fifteen minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. HOMEMADE CUSTARD: one quart milk, three eggs, eight ounces sugar, one and on-half ounces flour and one teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Add boiling milk, strain, pour over fruits and bake.

May Fred be with you and your Valentime!

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