Friday, June 25, 2010


My husband and I were invited to dinner by my husband's friend Tony this week.  He grilled up some steaks while we played with his two-year-old daughter.  What a cutie!

I thought it was the perfect occasion to make the cherry pie I'd been contemplating.  Plus, it would use the rest of the tart cherries.  I love to make pie, but it is a bit much to make for just my husband and myself.  It is a better dessert to share.  However, you don't want too many people to share it with because then you don't have any pie to eat the next day or later that night!

It took me a while to feel like I mastered pie crust. I tried several different recipes and techniques and it took me a while to be satisfied.  I think a crust that uses both butter and shortening is key.   I think the flavor of a butter crust is best, but the shortening makes it a little more forgiving and easier to work with.

You also need to practice.  Don't expect your crust to come out perfectly the first takes time to get the feel of rolling it out.  It is worth it, though, and it isn't bad to have to eat pie regularly.  We certainly enjoy it!

Cherry Pie
Makes one 9 1/2 inch deep dish, double-crust pie

For crust:
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup Crisco
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ice water

I cube the butter right out of the refrigerator and place in a bowl with Crisco and flour. I then place this bowl in the freezer for about 15 to 20 minutes. It is important to keep the ingredients and dough cold.  Then, I use my pastry cutter to blend until it is consistency of pea-sized crumbs.

Drizzle on the ice water and stir with a fork until crumbs are moistened and it is starting to clump together.

Press the dough into a ball and divide into two pieces, one slightly smaller than the other (that will be top pie crust). Flatten into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

For filling:
7 cups of pitted tart cherries
1 1/2 - 2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.  If it is super juicy, you may want to add just a touch more sugar and cornstarch.

When ready to create pie, roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick and around 13 inches diameter. This is the bottom pie crust that goes into the pie pan.  Place this in the bottom of your 9 1/2 inch deep-dish pie pan.

Pour the cherry filling into the crust.  Roll out the second round of pie dough now.  You can roll it into a circle a little smaller in diameter than the last one in order to cover the pie completely.  Or, you can roll it out into a rectangle and cut strips to weave into a lattice shape.  Or, you can roll it out in a rough shape and use cookie cutters to cut shapes and lay on top of the fruit.  Or, a combination there of...

I used a star cookie cutter to make shapes to lay on top of the cherries this time.  It felt more festive to me.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.  You need to be careful of leakage.  These cherries were very juicy and the pie started oozing juice over the edges of the pan.  I placed the pie pan on top of a cookie sheet to catch the leaking juice and to save me cleaning the oven.  It can still cause some smoke as the sugar burns, so don't say I didn't warn you.

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