Cherry Pie

2016 Recipe No. 31

It is summer, therefore, I will make pie.

I am making a pie, therefore I will make it out of as many cherries as I can get my hands on while they’re in season.

Well, I feel accomplished today.

Thing I Learned #1 – The largest cherry pie in the world was once baked in Canada… it’s unclear why this happened, but it weighed in at just under 40,000 pounds.

The Process

First get started on your pie crust. Combine the shortening with flour and salt and stir it up in a stand mixer until it gets all crumbly and the crumbs are about the size of peas. Reconstitute the dough by slowly adding in cold water, one pour at a time.

When that’s set, start shaping the crust. Divide the lump of dough into two halves and roll them out until they are in two round circles… you can probably figure out what’ll come of them! In the meantime, though, stick ‘em in the fridge.

Now let’s make some filling. The perfect filling still has discernible chunks of cherry, but they should be complemented nicely by the syrupy gelatin that surround them. So start by cooking the cherries in a high heat saucepan with sugar and cornstarch for about 10 minutes, you can add just a bit of water to get the sugar going faster, but the goal is to let the sugar and cornstarch draw some of the juices out of the cherries. Once that starts happening, let them cook on a medium heat to further liquify and turn into a syrup. When you get the sort of consistency you like to see in a pie, stir in some butter and vanilla extract. Let this cool back down to room temperature.

Now, preheat your oven to 375º. Remember those dough discs in the fridge? Get them out, and use one to line the bottom of your pie dish. Now fill it. With your filling of course. Get your other disc and top it off. Or you can try and be fancy and do something like a lattice crust. I’m not fancy enough for that.

Cook it for 45 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. Once you take it out of the oven, I’m sure it’ll be quite tempting to bite into a slice right away, but take your time. It should cool down for a little bit to keep its shape.

Thing I Learned #2 – Many bakers prefer to use a tart variety of cherries rather than sweet cherries. The reason for this is that it’s easier to control the sweetness if you start with something tart and then add sugar, rather than starting out sweet right off the bat.

Ingredients

1 cup of shortening or margarine

1/3 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3 cups of halved cherries, pits removed

1 cup of sugar

5 tablespoons of corn starch

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of butter

Step-By-Step

Make the Crust

  1. Combine the shortening, flour, and salt using a stand mixer
  2. Mix until the dough is crumbly and in small chunks
  3. Slowly mix in cold water until the dough is more cohesive
  4. Divide dough into two pieces
  5. Shape pieces into two disks
  6. Refrigerate dough for 45 minutes while you work on the filling

Make the filling

  1. Place the pitted cherries in a saucepan, with sugar and cornstarch
  2. Start heating on high until the cherries begin to release their juices… adding a teaspoon or two of water may help speed the process
  3. Lower the heat and stir until cherries continue to liquify and the sauce thickens into a more gelatinous consistency
  4. Stir until the filling becomes your desired consistency
  5. Add in some butter and vanilla extract and stir until it’s mixed in
  6. Take it off the stove to let it cool down

Make it a Pie

  1. Preheat your oven to 375º
  2. Cover your baking pan with one sheet of the pie dough
  3. Pour in the filling
  4. Enclose it with the other crust
  5. Bake until the crust is golden brown – perhaps 45 minutes, possibly more
  6. Let the pie cool down before you slice into it
Thing I Learned #3 – Cherry pie gets a fifth place participation ribbon in terms of popularity in the United States. Again, I don’t know how these things are measured, but it lags behind Apple (duh), Pumpkin, Pecan, and Banana Cream pie.

Serving This Sucker

Pie is great. Pie doesn’t need to be too dressed up. It can just be itself and it’ll still make everybody smile. (But okay, if you wanna add a dollop of whipped cream or something, that’ll probably go over well.

In The Future

I went with cherry pie because cherries are some of my favorite fruits, but I suppose next time it’s on me to go full American and embrace the beloved apple pie. Or perhaps next time I’ll put myself through the laborious and unneeded task of a lattice crust.

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