Sunday, June 22, 2008

sweet cherry pie

sweet cherries for pie

Whoever said you can’t make a good cherry pie with sweet cherries was lying. Sure, I love a sour or tart cherry pie as much as the next cherry-lover, but when the Greenmarket only has the sweet ones, there’s no reason to run in the other direction.

rinse

It helps that they were early-season cherries, thus not as sweet as the dark purple Bings we’re getting in the supermarkets right now. But I maintain that even if their sugars were fully developed, you could have just dialed back the sugar and punched up the acidity some more to balance it out.

pit

There’s just no excuse not to make cherry pie when they’re this pretty.

ptooie!

You might want to wear dark clothes when you pit the cherries.

discard

Even with OXO’s smarty-pants splash guard (yes, I finally bought one), I was finding garnet splatters from the food processor to the wall hours later. (I thought it was pretty and amusingly macabre, but Fear of Ants got me to wipe it up anyway.)

roll, patch

A good part of my Pie Superstition comes from the fact that pie dough, it just doesn’t like heat and humidity. It’s best to know this going into it, rechill it if it gets sticky, and try not to bemoan the tears and patching that inevitably occur, at least in our kitchen.

pile

Because seriously, does this just not make you want to get outside? Do you see that sunlight ricocheting off the cherries?

crimp

Sadly, the lid, with it’s off-centered and ill-conceived star cut out didn’t do those cherries justice, but I didn’t hear anyone complain.

bake

It was still, indeed, a star.

serve

And it didn’t last long.

vanishing act

We considered arm-wrestling for the last piece.

runaways

The pie didn’t win.

One year ago: Lemon Risotto

Sweet Cherry Pie

Dough for a double-crust pie [recipes here and here; I use the latter these days]

4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
Coarse sugar, for decoration

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.

Roll out half of chilled dough (use larger piece, if you’ve divided them unevenly) on a floured work surface to 13-inch 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, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. 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, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.


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