Anyone who has ever met me — and probably many who haven’t — know that I was not a fan of Jacksonville, N.C. One of the main problems I had with J-actionville was the lack of decent grocery stores. I once drove to four different stores to get enough cherries to bake Toby a cherry pie for his birthday (in July). And don’t even get me started on the dearth of cranberries, even in November.
So you can imagine how excited I was to move to a real town with real grocery stores that have an adequate supply of cherries AND cranberries during their appropriate seasons.
Now, the best cherry pies are allegedly made with sour cherries. But sour cherries are hard to come by, no matter where you live. And Toby can tell you that pies made with sweet cherries aren’t exactly terrible.
Pitting the cherries does take a while, and you should wear dark/old clothes while you do it or you may end up looking like you were attacked by a vampire. And you don’t want that… unless you are a 12-year-old girl.
I think I may finally have gotten this pie crust thing down, so I’m going to post the recipe I used below. But feel free to use your own crust recipe if you have one you’re used to.
I tried, again, to cut cute little shapes in the crust. And while they looked cute when I cut them, they didn’t look quite right when I baked it. So I think I’m going to stick to lattice tops from now on.
Brush the top of the crust with some egg mixed with a little water, and protect the edges with foil so they don’t get too brown.
Try to let the pie cool for at least 45 minutes before you slice it, or it will probably be a soupy mess. Then enjoy a slice of summer!
Cherry pie (Adapted from Cooking Light)
6 cups sweet cherries
2 tablespoons uncooked quick-cooking tapioca
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pit the cherries and put them in a large mixing bowl. Grind the tapioca in a spice or coffee grinder if you have one. Pour tapioca, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, extract and cinnamon over cherries and stir to combine. Set aside for 30 minutes (I use this time to prepare the crust).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stir cherry mixture. Roll one portion of dough out and gently place it in a 9-inch pie plate (do not stretch dough). Pour cherry mixture into prepared pie crust. Cut remaining crust into strips and arrange in a lattice pattern. Fold edges under and crimp.
Beat an egg and stir in a little water. Brush top of crust with the egg mixture, then sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then shield the edges of the crust with foil and bake an additional 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
Cool pie in pan for 45 minutes.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose or pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold butter (I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes)
1/3 or less ice water
Whisk flour, salt and sugar together. Cut butter into cubes.
Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter and shortening into flour mixture until butter and shortening pieces are the size of small peas. Drizzle with a little ice water, then blend with a fork. If ingredients don’t all come together, add more water.
Once mixture comes together in a ball, divide dough into two equal parts.
Roll one part out into about an 11-inch circle (roll from center out to all sides, being careful not to stretch the dough). Carefully place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate. Roll the remaining dough out and cut into strips for lattice top.