Wednesday, August 12, 2009

sweet cherry pie

sweet cherry pie

Move over, apple pie, you’ve got serious competition as far as I’m concerned. I know I once pledged my undying love for you, but that was before cherry pie and I had made acquaintance. I really didn’t expect it to be this good, but I must say, I’m over the moon here.

sweet cherries

Granted, sour cherries is really where it’s at, but I missed the sour cherry season, because while other folks were busy making sour cherry treats, I was busy looking for an apartment, then packing, then moving, then unpacking. And by the time I pulled my baking gear out of boxes, sour cherries were gone, done for the season, and instead these sweet ones were all over the place.

this pitter is a life-saver!

Not to be deterred, I decided to give these sweet cherries a whirl in a pie. And to up the ante further, I picked the hottest, most humid of days to do so. Yes, I like an extra challenge, why do you ask?

no more pits!no more crust fear!

I’ve written about my thoughts on making a successful crust here, but I’d like to reiterate the cold factor one more time. It’s incredibly important to achieve a flaky crust, but in summer weather when you have 100% humidity and 90 degree weather, cold should be the manifesto with which you set out to make the crust. I kept my rolling pin, bowl of flour and butter in the freezer for this to make sure I kept my ingredients as chilled as possible. My one gripe is that butter, when kept in the freezer, will crumble under the knife, instead of making perfect little cubes. I’m a sucker for those perfect little cubes – even if they’re seconds way from being blended with the flour into pea sized bits.

sweet cherry pie

A few years ago, I attempted a pie crust on what turned out to be the hottest day in all of the summer season. And you know, that totally scorched me. I couldn’t come near a pie crust recipe, let alone try and measure out my ingredients. All, I want to say here is that if I conquered my fears and delivered, in this pie, my most successful, flakiest crust to date (and it was anti-crust weather), you can do it too. Just work quickly with determination. Like I said in my latest pie post, pie crust smells fear – and you are stronger than the pie crust!

sweet cherry pie

I loved the filling idea from Deb at Smitten Kitchen and so adapted it for the pie here. But I stuck with the sweeter version of my usual pie crust, which I wrote about when I made the Honey Bourbon Caramel Peach Pie – it’s the same pie crust as you might find in many books, but with two teaspoons of sugar instead of the usual one.

sweet cherry pie

So while the cherries are plentiful and inexpensive and we still have a month of summer left, find the time for this pie – if you make your crust in advance and chill it, it’s a cinch – and a delicious one at that.

cherry pie


Sweet Cherry Pie
Filling and baking temperature adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough for double-crust pie – recipe for pie crust here.

Filling Ingredients:
4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar (or more if your cherries are on the tarter side)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

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

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, mix together, gently, the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon juice and almond extract.

Roll out half of your pie dough (be sure to pre-chill it first according to instructions) on a flour surface to a 13 inch round. Don’t worry about it not being perfectly symmetrical – these things happen. Gently, fold the “circle” in half, and fold that half in another half (in other words, a quarter) and transport it to the pie pan (should be 9 inches). You can also roll your dough around the rolling pin, but I find the first method easier. Trim the overhang to half-inch width.

Gently spoon filling into pie crust, being careful to keep the liquid that’s formed at the bottom of the bowl from seeping into the spooned filling.

Roll out the second dough disk into a 12 inch round (be sure to keep your work surface floured). Place it over the cherry filling and trim the overhang to 1 inch. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal, and then crimp the edge with a pastry crimper or a fork.

Brush the egg wash over the crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cut slits on top of the crust using a paring knife and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

Remove pie from the oven and let rest on a rack until cool.

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22 Comments

  • 1
    maggie said:

    Mmm. Must do it. You’ve convinced me. But then I may need to eat it for breakfast.

    August 12, 2009 5:26 pm
  • 2

    I have a hand painted sign above my bed that says “Cherry Pie”, with a picture of a gooey piece floating in pink. That should tell you how I feel about this desert. It is my absolute favorite.
    My mom used to make a great “Cherry Cheese” pie, with cherries on the top and a delicious sweet cream cheese center. I wonder where that recipe is?
    I am dying to try yours of course.
    Thank you Sassy Radish, as always,
    -Michaela

    August 12, 2009 5:35 pm
  • 3
    Meredith said:

    I’ve never tasted cherry pie, but it sounds wonderful!

    August 13, 2009 12:18 am
  • 4
    Gala said:

    Oh man! We are all out of cherries over here….
    would’ve loved to try out this recipe….

    August 13, 2009 9:03 am
  • 5

    Ah, what’s not to swoon over in sweet cherry pie? The way the blood-red fruit seeps through the slits in the crust, the way the flavor gets deep and earthy while keeping its berry-ness after that crust has been baked around it. Yum. I love the cherry pitter, too. I’m looking for a good one for olives.

    August 13, 2009 10:08 am
  • 6

    I have been absolutely obsessed with cherries this summer. My only sour cherry undertaking involved pickling them, so I clearly missed out, I feel your pain! Will have to give this a try with the cherries that I haven’t already preserved in brandy.

    August 13, 2009 10:32 am
  • 7
    radish said:

    Gala, i am sure you could try this with frozen cherries – if you’re near a Whole Foods, they should have it.

    August 13, 2009 11:44 am
  • 8

    Tell me about that cherry pitting device you used! I’ve been manually pitting with a knife for years. That looks like such a time saver.

    August 13, 2009 10:33 pm
  • 9
    radish said:

    Sassy Dining – I really love my oxo good grips cherry pitter.

    August 14, 2009 1:53 pm
  • 10

    Listen, I grew up on sweet cherry pie–so don’t ever let ‘em get you down with that sour cherry stuff. (Actually, in all honesty, I like both–although prefer my sour cherries in jam form.) And a good crust is hard to beat. Makes the whole thing, in fact, even if it’s a pain in the summer.

    August 14, 2009 2:33 pm
  • 11

    Your pies are really so gorgeous. I missed sour cherry season, too, but this might console me some.

    August 15, 2009 10:16 am
  • 12
    maris said:

    I’m over the moon just looking at these pictures! Perfect summer pie!

    August 16, 2009 10:35 pm
  • 13
    kim said:

    Aw, my parents gave away bags of cherries from their tree in July, I wish I’d had this recipe then. I’m bookmarking it for next year.

    August 17, 2009 8:33 am
  • 14
    Reeni said:

    This pie looks truly divine! I must invest in a cherry pitter. I would love to try this!

    August 17, 2009 12:37 pm
  • 15
    EB said:

    What brand of pitter do you use? I broke the cheapy one I bought.

    August 17, 2009 3:01 pm
  • 16
    radish said:
    August 17, 2009 3:09 pm
  • 17

    Why oh why didn’t I find your blog earlier?!
    I bought 2 pounds of cherries on sale. Besides munching a few at work and giving some to coworkers I at them ALL. Raw and delicious. This pie looks fantastic!

    August 18, 2009 2:12 am
  • 18
    radish said:

    Molly Jean – welcome! sorry you found this after you were done with the cherries. eating them raw is actually my favorite way to consume them! :)

    August 18, 2009 10:56 am
  • 19
    Jennifer said:

    My mouth is literally watering looking at that pie. Crust looks amazing and I’m jealous of your cherry pitter. I’m too frugal to treat myself to the one with the nifty container at the end.
    BTW, there are sour cherry trees on Clinton St. and 3rd place. Never got the chance to ring the owners bell and ask if I could buy some and it didn’t look like they harvested them. Such a shame.

    August 18, 2009 1:19 pm
  • 20

    Pie crust smells fear. No WONDER I can’t make a crust to save my life! Off to check out the pie crust post…you may have just become my husband’s favorite blog for ME to read!!

    August 19, 2009 10:20 am
  • 21
    Rachel said:

    Sassy, I feel your pain about missing sour cherry season! In my neck of the woods, they are so rare, tat the farmers who do grow sour cherries have a WAITING LIST. Yes, that means you cannot even hope to find them at the market in the season, you need to sign up. Crazy.
    I won’t complain, though. We Californians are ridiculously blessed with an abundance of produce. I hope to get some next year.
    Your sweet cherry pie looks beautiful!
    What I usually do with the butter is cut it into cubes first, then freeze it in plastic wrap for 30 minutes. Then you don’t need to battle with cutting the frozen butter.
    :)
    Rachel

    September 1, 2009 4:46 am
  • 22
    George said:

    OMG, you have converted me to Sweet Cherry Pie with just your photographs. This is not my Grandmother’s Comstock out-of-the-can Cherry Pie; that’s for sure! And when I try your recipe, I get to finally use my “Cherry Pitter” – how cool is that!
    Really enjoy your blog… look forward to seeing what great things you are making next.

    September 25, 2009 4:32 pm

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