There is something very charming about a Cherry Pie, the mere mention of one has me conjuering up images of a pie cooling on a windowsill in some idyllic country setting with a couple of swallows or bluebirds flying around outside.
Here in the US, the Cherry Pie is a classic Summer dessert, it is as customary now as it was way back when and alot earlier than that too. Americans even have an official Cherry Pie Day, which being February 20, does not make sense because it is Winter and very hard to come by fresh cherrys…
At any rate, I don’t think it matters what season we are in, most of us love a good pie – and with its buttery pastry and fruit-packed jammy filling, this particular cherry pie is just the best.
I adapted a recipe from Cooks Illustrated, the addition of the plums serve to balance out the sweet cherries perfectly and the ground tapioca creates a jam-like filling with juices of the fruit. The pastry is my tried and tested ‘best’ pie crust recipe ever and as much as I dislike working with pastry it always works well.
With the July 4 celebrations just around the corner you might consider this pie for your dessert, and for everyone else – it might be nice to make for the fun of it.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
226 grams/8 ounces unsalted butter, very cold
2 blood plums (red plums), halved and pitted
6 cups pitted fresh cherries
2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground
1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
a pinch of cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
Coarse sugar, for decoration
Set aside 1 cup of ice cold water. Whisk together flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt in a large bowl and cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces.
Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with your pastry blender or a fork (or knife), working all parts evenly. Stop when the mixture has a crumb the size of peas.
Pour half the water over the butter and flour mixture and using a spatula, gather the dough together. Gradually add more water, a tablespoon at a time until you have large clumps of dough. Then use your hands to bring the dough together and form it into a ball.
Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap and chill for at least two hours.
To make the filling, process the plums and 1 cup of the cherries in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain the the puree through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Add the remaining cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, tapioca and cinnamon to the bowl. Mix well to combine; let stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400f.
Heavily flour your work surface and place your one disk of the chilled dough in the centre. Flour the top of your dough and the rolling pin and roll the dough from the centre out, rotating in a circular motion so you get an even (ish) round of dough forming. Cut to a 13″ round.
Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan, either by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan or by folding it into quarters and unfolding it in the pan. Trim edges to a half-inch overhang.
Spoon filling into pie crust and dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.
Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape and place in your freezer for 20 minutes to chill. Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350f and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.
Notes: To grind the tapioca I used my blender, a food processer or coffee grinder would work well too.
Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, July & August 2010
Now for some good news, I won the Food and Wine “Favorite Food Moments ” photo competition and I have been doing a happy dance since it was official. I was up against some stiff competition, a black and white shot in particular – it was my favourite by a long shot. At any rate, I am the winner and feeling very chuffed – a good excuse to eat some pie!
© 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.