Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cherry Pie

I had some frozen sour cherries (boy, were they sour!) left over from a visit to a farmers market this summer. Every time I opened the freezer, a voice inside me whispered "cherry pie." The voice became too loud to ignore last week.

This is the same pie you see baking in the oven in my previous post.


Basic Pie Crust Recipe for a 9-inch pie

4 cups pitted sour cherries, unsweetened (fresh or frozen)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes or slices.
1 egg

1   Preheat oven to 425ºF.

2   Whisk 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg glaze. Set aside.

3   Combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and almond extract in a large bowl. Stir well. Let stand 30 minutes.

Note: If using frozen cherries (I was), put them in the refrigerator the night before to partially thaw them.

4   Remove one pie crust square from refrigerator. Allow to warm for about 5 minutes to assist rolling. Place onto the middle of two overlapping sheets of plastic wrap, and cover with two overlapping sheets of plastic wrap. Roll through the plastic wrap into an approximately 13-inch round. Peel off top wrap, position dough over pie pan, and peel off bottom wrap. Press dough gently into pan. Leave overhanging dough in place.

Note: Peel the wrap off and replace it periodically as you roll (both top piece and bottom piece) to prevent stretching the dough instead of rolling it. Stretching will develop gluten and produce a tougher pastry.

You can omit the plastic wrap and roll pin-to-dough. I like using wrap because it prevents sticking and makes it easy to transfer the dough to the pie plate.

5   Brush bottom crust with egg glaze. This will lessen seepage of cherry juice into pastry.

6   Remove remaining dough from refrigerator and roll into a 13-inch round as described above. Doing this step before filling pie will reduce seepage.

7   Stir cherries a few more times then fill pie pan. Dot with cold butter slices.

8   Cover cherries with top crust. Fold top crust overhang under bottom crust overhang. (You may need to cut the bottom crust so it is about ½ inch shorter than the top crust.) Flute, pinch, fork, or otherwise seal the crust edge. Brush top with egg glaze. Make slits in top crust.

9   Place pie onto a cookie sheet or line bottom (or bottom rack) of oven with aluminum foil-covered pan to catch drippings. Bake at 425°F. for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. and bake for an additional 45 to 60 minutes or until top is golden and cherries are bubbling through slits.

10   Let cool at least 5 hours before slicing.

Note: Who can resist a warm cherry pie? We couldn't! I cut it before it was completely cooled and like a broken dam, cherry juice flooded the hole. The filling was more congealed the following day. The next cherry or blueberry pie I make, I'll bake it at least a day in advance :)

Photo: Homegrown

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