The Golden Door

February 13, 2017

“What does love look like? 
It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.”
~ St. Augustine

One of my favorite movies about the American immigrant story is Golden Door, originally titled Nuovomondo (2006), an Italian film about Sicilian immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century.  It is the story of Salvatore, a poor widowed farmer, who has decided to immigrate to the U.S. with his entire family.  The film illustrates the contrast between the world back home, their difficult journey on the boat to the U.S., and the challenges they face upon their arrival, after which they spend a lengthy quarantine period trying to pass various examinations in order to be admitted to the United States, their destiny solely in the hands of the customs officers at Ellis Island.  I highly recommend watching it, especially if you are of Italian descent.  I was very moved thinking of my own ancestors and their bravery and optimism and ability to risk everything in the name of possibility.  This beautiful film will remind you that the American spirit is not expressed by cowering in fear and closing doors but by the courage of an open heart.  In fact, the word courage, a synonym for bravery, comes from the Latin word for heart, cor.

Therefore, in honor of courage and love, here is the sonnet written in honor of the Statue of Liberty and displayed on a plaque inside its pedestal.  Officially titled, “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” and affectionately known as “Lady Liberty”, the statue (a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States) was dedicated on October 28, 1886, shortly before the arrival of my own Sicilian ancestors as well as the courageous immigrant ancestors of many native born American citizens of today.

Let us dedicate ourselves to upholding the spirit and intent of this beautiful poetry and keep as the symbol of our great country a woman who lifts a lamp beside a golden door, and not an angry man in a gold tower.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)


Tart cherries already pitted and ready-to-use, quality frozen pie crust that’s almost rolled out for you, a free-form shape and structure that’s meant not to look perfect – what’s not to love about this easy-to-assemble Cherry Crostata?  For a special treat, order some Omena Organics canned organic Montmorency cherries to make this crostata.  Their tart, Michigan-grown Montmorency cherries are some of the best I’ve tasted and they’re organically grown.  If you’re in a hurry, like I was, the Trader Joe’s Morellos in a jar make a tasty substitute.

Trader Joe’s Lovers’ Cherry Crostata
All of the ingredients needed for this easy to assemble, free-form cherry pie can be collected in one trip to your local Trader Joe’s, hence the name.  I used their frozen pie crust and their Dark Morello Cherries in Light Syrup.  I even served the finished pie with Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Ice Cream.  Yum.

1 single pie crust for a 10″ pie (22 oz)
(thawed according to pkg directions)
A bit of flour for rolling out
1 jar (24.7 oz) Trader Joe’s Morello Cherries
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 cup organic sugar (6 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg, beaten with a little water (to brush pastry)
1 to 2 tablespoons organic sugar, for sprinkling on crust

Preheat oven to 400°F

Thoroughly drain cherries, reserve syrup for another use (great for flavoring sparkling water or lemonade or as a glaze for chicken or pork).  You should end up with about 1 & 1/2 cups of drained cherries. Toss cherries with cornstarch and cinnamon to coat.  Stir in 3/8 cup sugar.  Set aside.

Line a large baking sheet/pan with foil, then with parchment.

Place thawed crust on baking sheet.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll crust out a bit more until it is about 13 inches across.  Don’t worry if the circle isn’t perfect.

Leaving 2 to 3 inches at the border, scoop the cherry mixture into the center.  Scatter small chunks of cold butter over the cherries.

Fold the border in toward the center of the crostata, partially covering the outer part of the fruit area.  make a few pleats with the dough to make the circle neat (again, no need to be perfect. a rustic shape is part of the charm of a crostata).  Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg (you won’t need all of it) and sprinkle with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar (course sugar, such as turbinado, is nice for this purpose, but regular granulated works fine too).

Turn up the foil edges a bit all around, to form a small rim, just in case you missed a tear in your pastry and some fruit juices leak out.  Even if this happens, your crostata will still turn out cute and delicious, but this will keep them contained and protect your oven.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.  Let cool completely on rack.

This is extra yummy served with vanilla ice cream.

Best served the same day or next day.

Serves 8

2 Responses to “The Golden Door”

  1. Janet Mercurio

    Always love to see the vintage images you find to perfectly match your messages & recipes – these are wonderful. And I hope I can hunt down the movie you referenced, “Nuovomondo” – I’m sure I could learn something about our own Sicilian immigrant families. And now I know what I’m getting the next time I go to TJ’s! Can’t beat cherry pie – especially when it’s in honor of GW’s birthday.

  2. Gina

    Hi Janet, glad you liked them! Yeah, that movie was wonderful. Martin Scorsese did the intro to the English language DVD. He said he recognized the Sicilian dialect the characters speak from hearing it around the house in his childhood. The cherry pie was in honor of Valentine’s Day, not the George Washington cherry tree legend, but hey, any excuse for pie is a good excuse, right?