Thursday, June 12, 2008

Homemade Cherry Pie

My in-laws have cherry trees in their front yard and were kind enough to give Brad enough cherries to last us until 2014. In an attempt at domesticity, I baked a cherry pie. Here's how:

First, let's make a crust. You will need 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 cup of shortening and 1/2 cup ice water. I used butter flavored shortening because I am cool like that. My advice is to chill everything. The bowl, the pastry knife thing (which I did not use), the shortening... everything. It makes life so much easier.

Cut the shortening into small pieces and then stick back into the refrigerator. You need it to be cold enough that it won't get too warm while you are cutting it into your dry ingredients. Cold ingredients= flakier crust.

Once it is completely chilled, add it to your dry ingredients. Now, I don't have one of the pastry knife things, so I used two knives to cut the shortening into the flour. I would have used my hands except that my hands are always hot and they would have melted the shortening. I know, I'm weird. I don't ever need to wear a winter jacket because I am always melting. Not my most attractive quality. Moving on...

What you are looking for is for all of the flour to be attached to the shortening. You want it to look like crumbs. The key here is to handle it as little as possible, while still managing to get it to look like crumbs. Then you will need to add in about 1/2 cup of cold water. Don't add too much, just add it in by the Tablespoon-full until the dough comes together. Be gentle. If you are too rough and handle it too much, you won't get flaky pie crust, you will get rubber pie crust, which isn't as amazing.

Separate the dough into two and cover in Saran wrap. I would suggest that you lay out one layer, put the dough on top and then add a second layer. It makes rolling it out later much easier. Chill. The dough. Well, you can chill too. I folded laundry. Ideally, you should let it chill for at least 4-5 hours and overnight would be best. I did not let it chill long enough because I am impatient and it was tricky to work with.

Fast forward to when the dough is thoroughly chilled. It is time to make the filling. You will need to clean and pit about 4 cups of fresh sour cherries. If you have someone who owes you a favor, make them do it. You will also need about 2 cups-ish of sugar, 6 Tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 Tablespoons of butter and 3/4 tsp. of lemon extract.

Put the cherries, sugar and cornstarch into a sauce pot and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the cherries to absorb some of the sugar. Let's talk about the sugar. Do you love sour cherries? Add slightly less than 2 cups of sugar. Do you like sugary sweet cherries? Use 2-1/2 cups of sugar. Or you can always drown the whole thing in Cool Whip later. That works too, not that I would know.

After the cherries have had some time to absorb the sugar, turn the heat to medium-low and bring the mixture to a boil. Smell the amazingness. Yum. Let the cherries boil, I mean really boil. The cornstarch won't really work unless the whole thing boils for a while. Don't rush the process here or you will have a very runny cherry pie.

Your cherry mixture should look like this after about 10 minutes. Make sure that the mix has thickened. If not, keep cooking until it thickens. Once you have achieved the desired thickness, add 2 Tablespoons of butter and 3/4 tsp. of lemon extract. Stir. Be happy. Now, let's get the dough.

I have found that the easiest way to make pie crust is to roll it out between two pieces of Saran Wrap. I used to use a ginormous cup as a rolling pin until my Mom donated this one. Thanks, Mom! Roll out the dough. I have no idea how wide or thick it is supposed to be, I was too busy swearing at it because I didn't let it chill long enough.

Add your cherry mixture. Yum.

Roll out the top crust. I had every intention of making a lattice top for this, but the dough was downright sticky so it wasn't happening. Did I mention that you should chill the dough properly? Make a few slices in the top crust for ventilation. I always put my pie plates on a cookie sheet when I bake them because of the apple pie incident of 2002. That's just me though.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 - 55 minutes. Impress friends and family.



Taryn said...

Ohhhhhhhh, I am seriously salivating here! My son is sitting here going, "Can I have a piece?" just looking at the photos! Too bad I am deathly afraid to try pie-making. Your pie looks incredible.

Carmen Olson said...

Estee, you seriously are a foodie! LOL You make me hungry with all your wonderful recipes and the pix just top it all off!

BB said...

OK, this totally makes me think of my Grandma who one day decided to make a cherry pie for a ladies tea social. Although she had never made a cherry pie before, that didn't stop her.

Fast forward to the tea social... there sat a room full of proper ladies dressed to the nines eating my Grandma's delicious cherry pie, and spitting pits as discreetly as possible since granny forgot to take them out. OH MAN. I wish I could have seen it!

Lal said...

I remember making a cherry pie in Home Ec class back in middle school. I don't know if I could do it now. Yours looks YUMMY! I just LOOOOOVE cherry pie! Actually, it's the ONLY pie I like!

Elizabeth said...

Oh my goodness- I am starving... will you please drive up to KY and make me a cherry pie? :-)

shopgirlaudi said...

I just LOVE, LOVE your little cooking "episodes";) You are totally better than Rachel Ray:) That pie looks delicious and the crust DOES look super flaky. Yuuummmyyy:P

Brenda said...

I wish I had read this before I decided to just bake a pie...when I've never made before. Ever. Mine's in the oven. I think it will be rubbery cuz I messed around with the dough too much. well. We will see.