What's the absolute best thing about summer?
"I like to bake and I like fruity pies, but thing is, I don’t get to make a sour cherry one very often because they're only available for a very short window," the "NBC Nightly News" anchor told TODAY Food.
Luckily for Lester, on his way to work Thursday, he was able to stop by a farmers market right outside 30 Rock where he spotted one of his favorite stone fruits, which are rarely available at supermarkets. That impromptu purchase "charted the course" for a sweet night of baking up a sour cherry cobbler.
But of course, baking with cherries has its pit-falls (we couldn't help ourselves!) since there was plenty of juicy prep work to be done.
"It took me over an hour [to pit]," Lester admitted, since the recipe he used called for 2 cups of the fruit. Plus, sour cherries are smaller than sweeter varieties like Bing. But the effort definitely paid off.
So what's his secret?
Though he used "the first recipe that popped up on Google," Lester said sticking to exact ingredients and steps are key for nailing any baking attempt. "One of the things that makes me an OK cook and not a great one is that I will not veer off [a recipe], be it a grain less or more of salt or sugar," he admitted. "Experiments are best left to the professionals."
He may not be a professional, but the anchor has scores of fans who admired his summery cobbler. "Impressive pastry skills!" commented one follower.
Lester's biggest baking fans, however, are the people who actually get to enjoy the fruits of his labor: his family.
"My wife was hovering over me the whole time! When I took it out of the oven I was like, 'All right, we have to let it cool!' So we took the dogs for a walk," he added. When they came back, the couple enjoyed the cobbler with some vanilla ice cream which, Lester admitted, might have made the dish too sweet. He told TODAY that he'll be enjoying any leftovers with a little whipped cream next time.
The cobbler even caught the attention of Lester's son, Stefan Holt, an anchor and reporter at NBC New York.
"Save some for me! I’m inviting myself over after the newscast!" Stefan commented on his father's Instagram post. To which the veteran anchor responded, "You’ll need a fast car. It’s going fast."
We can't wait to see what Lester whips this fall — we just want a taste next time!
Looking for more cheery cherry recipes? Check out some of our favorites: