Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life is a Bowl of Cherries!

It just wouldn't be a pie blog without a classic cherry pie!  I've actually never made a cherry pie from scratch.  When I was a kid I made cherry pie using canned filling.  But this was my first attempt using fresh cherries.  And by the way, get yourself a cherry pitter of some sort!  I still don't have one and did this by cutting the cherries open and prying out the pits and it took WAY too long, not to mention my cuticles and nails were stained for two days!  I'll be purchasing one today as I still have about five pounds of cherries to pit.

We've discussed before about the benefits of experimenting in the kitchen because you always learn something.  This time I learned that I prefer a juicier cherry pie and should put less thickener in the filling.  This one sliced nice and clean, but a little extra sauciness surrounding the cherries would have been perfection.  As with mostly everything, you'll need to adjust this filling to your taste and fruit.  Add a little extra sugar if your cherries are pretty tart, or don't, if you like them that way.

A lattice top crust is typically the way that cherry pie is presented.  Making a lattice from scratch is a commitment, so I thought this would be the perfect time to use my pie topper stencil from King Arthur Flour.  I used the heart side, of course!  For this pie I used my good ol' vodka pie crust from Cook's Illustrated and I highly recommend you do as well!  But nobody will know if you use a pre-made crust or your own favorite recipe.

Classic Cherry Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

1 recipe pie dough for a double-crust pie
4 cups pitted cherries
Sugar as needed, I used 1/2 a cup
2 Tb. lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tb. cornstarch (may need more or less depending on your fruit)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Place a sheet pan on the bottom rack of your oven and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all the filling ingredients and set aside.

Roll out your bottom crust and place into the pie pan, being sure to press it in evenly.  Roll out your top crust.  You can cut it into strips for a lattice if you like, or use a stencil like I did.  Place the filling into the the pie pan and brush the edges of the pie dough with water.  Cover with the top crust and press the edges together, the water will help them stick.  Trim the edges of the crust so they are even with the pan.   Flute them if you want, or just use the tines of a fork to crimp them.  If you aren't using any kind of design on the top, cut a few steam vents.  Place the pie in the freezer for 15 minutes then remove.  If you want, you can brush the pie crust with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar for a nice brown, crunchy finish.  Place the pie on the hot pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  This will help the bottom crust set.  Move the pie and the pan to the middle rack and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.  Cook for an additional 20 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and you can see the cherry filling bubbling.
My adorable heart stencil!
By rolling your crust onto your rolling pin, you can easily transfer it to the pie pan.
My beautiful cherry pie after a short nap in the freezer.  Brushed with cream and sprinkled with raw sugar.  Look at those beautiful flutes on the edge!  Too bad they don't stay so perfect after being in the oven.
The finished pie!  See what I mean about the fluting on the crust?  Oh well, I'll work on it.

Peek-a-boo hearts! I see you cherries!

1 comment:

  1. That is the sweetest cherry pie! And I'm so glad to know it's not just my flutes that get all deformed - I was worried I was defective or something :)