As promised, I finally made a cherry pie this weekend. Cherry pie is both Eric and my favorite dessert. When we first started dating and found out that we both loved cherry pie, I think it was a sign to both of us that we were meant for each other. Soon after discovering this fact, I made him a cherry pie from scratch and our fate was sealed (at least he tells me that convinced him)!
Typically, we eat cherry pie in the Summer, when the cherries are fresh and in February for Eric’s birthday. This year, after picking 20 lbs of cherries, as mentioned in the previous post here, I think we will have cherry pie all year long. I must take a minute though to give Eric a big thank you, he was amazing and sat in front of the Tour de France on Saturday morning/afternoon and pitted much more than half of the cherries he picked. And that is why I married him; he’s the best. In turn, I made a delicious cherry pie that afternoon.
A pie begins with the crust. I make my pie crust with all butter as opposed to half butter and half shortening, a recipe from a William-Sonoma Pies cookbook. (Double the recipe when making top and bottom crust or a lattice top.) Cube the butter and then stick it back into the fridge so it gets really cold; all ingredients for pie crusts need to be kept as cold as possible, if the dough is too warm it will get sticky and tear.
Pull out your food processor and fill it with the flour, sugar and salt.
Pulse a few times so that everything is well incorporated.
Side note: If you have a food processor and aren’t using it for making pie crust, I think you’re crazy. I used to do the old “cutting in” method with two butter knives and it doesn’t come close to the ease of the food processor. Not only does it mix the dough up faster, in mixes it better and all the butter is uniform in size. I started using one a few years ago and have never looked back.
Once the dry ingredients are mixed, fill a water glass with ice and cold tap water and set aside. Add the cold butter cubes to the flour mixture and pulse until it looks like course sand.
While the food processor is on, add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks into a ball and looks moist (1-3 tablespoons should do the trick).
Once the dough forms a ball, take it out of the processor (watch the blades!) and cut it in half. Wrap in plastic and stick both halves in the fridge for a half hour.
While the crust is chilling, mix up the tart cherries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla, and tapioca. Let sit while rolling out the crust.
Did the tapioca throw you off? Cherry pie is really juicy and I have found that cornstarch alone does not thicken it as much as I like. I add just one tablespoon of quick cooking tapioca to the filling and it thickens everything perfectly. You can’t taste or notice it, I promise.
The secret to rolling out good crust is making sure it doesn’t stick and adding a little flavor. I use a base of flour, white sugar and cinnamon to roll out this pie crust. Put a bunch on your work surface and the more on top of the crust.
Each time you roll, spin the dough a bit and add more flour/sugar/cinnamon to the top of it. Use a rolling pin, but do not press hard and roll in different directions. Be patient, this will take a few minutes, if you rush the dough will tear.
Once the circle looks large enough for your pie dish, roll it up on your rolling pin and then roll it back out over the pie dish. Fold under all the edges and use your fingers to flute the edges.
Fill the pie shell with the cherries that have been sitting and all the collected juices; top with dots of unsalted butter. Roll out the second crust, as you did the first. Use a pizza or dough cutter or sharp knife and cut long strips, if you choose to do a lattice topped pie.
Weave the pieces gently on top of the pie to create a nice pattern.
Place in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then decrease the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes until the pie is bubbling.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (yes, mine was home made) and some whipped cream for good measure (not home made, Redi Whip). It was delicious.
Here are the recipes, remember to double the pie crust if you using crust on top of your cherry pie.
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1-4 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until course, slowly add the ice water and mix together until well combined but not too wet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out on floured surface.
Cherry Pie Filling
4-5 cups of tart cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients and pour into prepared pie shell. Top with crust or lattice top. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees; lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes until the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven allow to cool so the filling sets. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.