Cherry Pie

After making the cherry-streusel coffee cake I was still left with 2 gallon-sized bags of fresh tart cherries.  So, it naturally seemed necessary that I try making a cherry pie from scratch.  It doesn’t hurt that cherry pie happens to be my favorite type of pie also.  Although I am kind of picky on my cherry pie.  You see, I am not a fan of canned pie filling.  In fact, I try to avoid all types of canned pie filling.  I would even rather buy canned pumpkin and make the recipe myself than buy the pre-canned filling.  I just find that they, especially the fruit ones, have way too much syrup and not enough fruit.  I don’t eat pie to taste a sugary syrup, I want it for the chunks of fruit.  This pie did not dissappoint when it came to that. 

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In addition to making just one pie, a friend of my husband and I wanted to learn how to make a cherry pie also.  He also had his own bag or freshly picked cherries, since him and his wife joined us on our camping trip to Door County.  He also decided he wanted to try and make a lattice top.  I have to say I was a little hesitant when it came to the lattice top.  The rest of the pie I was okay with, but the lattice top scared me.  You see, pies and me do not have a nice history.  In fact everytime I make a pie something goes wrong; its inevitable.  This time failed to be no exception, but not on the lattice.  The lattice actually turned out very nicely as you can see. 

The adventure that occurred with this pie was quite different.  While these two pies were baking I looked over to the oven and saw a small flame shoot through my oven!  At first I thought I was seeing things, but then my husband and I saw another one.  So, we carefully opened the door (did I forget to mention that we have a gas stove?, well we do) and saw that the flames were coming off of pieces of pie dough that fell to the bottom of the oven.  At first we thought it would be okay to just leave these charred pieces in the oven until smoke really started coming out of the oven.  We all decided then that it would be a good idea to remove the pieces of pie crust unless we wanted our pies to taste smoky.  My husband then very bravely took the pieces out of the oven and put them on a cast iron skillet. 

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I have to say though that I learned my lesson and when the recipe says to put a baking sheet under the pie, there is a good reason for this.  I initially hesitated with this because in my past experiences a baking sheet has messed up the heat circulation in the oven causing things to not bake properly.  So, if you plan on making this remember, there is a reason you should put a pan under this in the oven.  Otherwise, you might end up with a very smoky house like I did.

Overall, the pie was delicious.  It is everything I ask for in a cherry pie.  It was loaded with tart and juicy cherries.  The crust was buttery and flaky.  And there wasn’t too much syrup to overwhelm the wonderful cherries.  I hope you also get the chance to try this recipe.  Enjoy!

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Recipe: (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

1 recipe for “Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough” from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (recipe to follow)

1 to 1 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp cinnamon (I left this out, it just seemed a little odd)

Pinch salt

6 cups fresh, jarred, or canned sour cherries, pitted and drained

1/4 tsp almond extract (this makes the filling smell absolutely amazing)

1 egg, lightly beaten

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500 degrees.  Mix 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir in the cherries and almond extract.  Add up to 4 more Tbsp of the remaining sugar if the cherries taste tart.  Spread the filling in the unbaked pie crust bottom.  Top the pie with the remaining crust, the lattice is completely optional but it looks really cool.  Just remember that when dealing with the pie crust it is of the upmost important that it stays cold and that you work very rapidly with it so it does not melt.  Seal and crimp the edges.  Lightly brush the top with the egg and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp sugar.

Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 425degrees.  Bake until the top is golden, about 25 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature to 375degrees, and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 more minutes.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.

Recipe for a double crust pie:

3 cups AP flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 sticks (10 oz) very cold (preferably frozen) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

1/3 cup frozen shortening, cut into 4 pieces

About 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse until they are just cut into the flour.  Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 6 Tablespoons of the water.  The use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour.  If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched.  Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.  Divide the dough in half.  Gather each half into a ball, flatten each into a disk and wrap each half in plastic.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling.

When rolling out the dough, have a buttered 9″ pie plate ready.  You can roll the dough on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap.  If working on a counter, turn the dough frequently and  keep the counter floured.  If you are rolling between paper or plastic make sure to turn the dough over often and to lift the paper or plastic frequently.  If you have time, slide the rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest and firm up.

Then fit one circle of dough into the pie plate, allowing the excess to hang over.  Trim to a 1/8″ – 1/4″ overhang.  Fill the pie and moisten the edges of the bottom crust with water.  Center the second piece of dough over the filling and press it against the bottom crust.  Using a pair of scissors, cut the top crust’s overhang so that it extends about 1/4″ over the bottom crust.  Tuck the excess top crust under the bottom crust and flute or pinch the crust to make a nice edge.  Follow the pie recipe’s instructions for baking.

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