Sweet Cherry Pie


I LOVE cherries. I look forward to those few weeks of summer every year when the cherries are ripe and I will eat them by the bagful. One thing I have never loved, however, is cherry pie. It seems strange because I love cherries and I love pie, why don't I love cherry pie? I decided it was because I had never had a really well made cherry pie, so Tucker and I set out to make our own. We quickly ran into a roadblock: fresh sour cherries, which are the traditional fruit in cherry pie, are impossible to find in New England. Fortunately, Cooks Illustrated came to the rescue with a recipe for sweet cherry pie. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical, I thought it was going to be too sweet. But I was totally wrong. This pie was AMAZING. It even converted my friend who claims she doesn't like pie, into a sweet cherry pie lover. I knew she wasn't just flattering me when she went back for a second piece.

Anyhow, cherry season is really pretty much wound down at this point, but if you have the chance to get your hands on some sweet cherries, I highly recommend this pie!

(In case you can't tell, I cut out a little house shape in the pie top, I think it was hard to tell though. Next time, I think I would cut out a piece of dough in the shape and stick it on top)
Sweet Cherry Pie
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons vodka , cold (it sounds weird, but just trust me)
2 tablespoons cold water


Cherry Filling
2 red plums , halved and pitted (Tucker and I both agree that the plums are a genius addition to this pie. We actually tried adding plums to a huckleberry pie we made a week or so later and it also came our great)
6 cups (about 2 pounds) pitted and halved sweet cherries (this is the time consuming part, unfortunately. I didn't find any shortcuts to this besides cutting each cherry in half and then prying out the pit)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons bourbon
2 tablespoons instant tapioca , ground (we did this in our spice grinder)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg , lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Instructions
  1. FOR THE CRUST: Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  3. Remove 1 disk dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with 1 hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 40 minutes.
  4. FOR THE FILLING: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Process plums and 1 cup halved cherries in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids. Stir remaining halved cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, bourbon, tapioca, and cinnamon into puree; let stand for 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer cherry mixture, including all juices, to dough-lined plate. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Roll second disk of dough on generously floured work surface (up to ¼ cup) to 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least ½-inch overhang. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges with egg mixture. With sharp knife, make 8 evenly spaced 1-inch-long vents in top crust. Freeze pie 20 minutes.
  6. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble around the edges and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
  7. Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to room temperature so juices have time to thicken, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.


Comments

Megan said…
Great pie! I keep thinking about making a cherry pie for Thanksgiving this year. Actually I want to make a whole bunch of mini pies. We'll see what actually happens.

(I have a little red Cuisinart ice cream maker. I love it.)

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