… and then, even though I die
As I wend my way to Heaven I’ll be full of cherry pie!
- Edgar Guest
There is something about the Cherry pie that is so enticing - ruby red jewels encased in a deliciously buttery covering is a treat not only for your eyes but for your palate too - whats not to love about it? I seriously have not had a Cherry pie this good!! (not that I have had very many before). Being my first experiment with a cherry pie, I was quite apprehensive before making it - a zillion questions floating in my mind. Would the crust be flaky enough? Would the crust cook properly with a wet filling poured on it? No blind baking? Would the filling be too runny? What if the filling doesn't hold together? What if it is too soupy and messy? Would the cornflour in the filling taste too pasty? But thanks to the internet, for one small thing there are numerous options available. Thankfully it worked for me too where I was able to read and choose the best out of the best and my fears were laid to rest and I finally ended my quest for the perfect Cherry pie.
While going through the various sites, at first I got thoroughly confused as most of the recipes called for half butter and half lard. Lard? Where would I get lard here in Delhi? On googling it, I found that Dalda could be substituted for lard. But not wanting to pump our arteries with hydrogenated fats, I looked further and hit upon an all butter, really flaky pastry crust at smittenkitchen.com which had, can you believe it, a 103 different type of pie crusts with step-by-step tutorials, making it really simple to follow. The dough rolled out nicely(without tearing), baked perfectly, was rich and flaky and nicely balanced with the filling. Though, in spite of his instructions to knead the dough by hand, I ended up making mine in a food processor and had absolutely no regrets in the end. But again, this is your choice. Another important thing to remember when making the dough is to avoid mixing the butter too much. In fact, handle it as little as possible, that is also why I liked using the food processor as then you handle the dough minimally. Visible specks of butter should be seen in the final dough as that is what helps the dough to be flaky
Another important thing to remember is that keep everything as cold as possible, yes, even in this blasted heat. The best way is to cube your butter first, then pop it in the freezer while mixing your flour, sugar and salt, then work as quickly as possible.
The filling again is a compilation from various sites. I chose to cook the filling in a pan till thickened and keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours.(3-4 hrs). I found cooling it for a couple of hours helped to thicken the filling resulting in a firm pie. I actually got cold feet when I thought of just tossing the cherries with cornflour (as quite a few recipes called for) and using it for the filling, afraid that the filling might end up too runny!! Maybe next time I will be more adventurous!!This cherry pie was as perfect as perfect could be!! So beautiful that I almost fell in love with it -the colors, the texture, the taste, everything seemed to hit the 100 percent perfect mark. (You can tell this by seeing how berserk I went with taking pics of it with my camera). It was so beautiful and perfect that if I had it in me, I definitely would have ended up composing a poem in its honor, it was so good!! For the time being, I am quite happy to do a merry heel dance at finding this valuable treasure for my collection.
So, While I am still in my cherry heaven, you go ahead and enjoy the flavors of fresh fruits available in this season.
For the Crust :
21/2 cups flour(315 grams)
1 tbsp sugar(15 gms)
1 tsp salt(5 gms)
200 gms butter
4-6 tbsp ice cold water
For the Filling:
5 cup cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cherry conserve (optional)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove powder
50 gms extra butter, cut into cubed
1 beaten egg blended with water for the glaze
Cut butter into small cubes and put the bowl into the freezer. In a food processor pulse flour, sugar and salt. Add in the butter. Pulse 10-12 times till mixture resembles a coarse meal with few pea sized pieces of butter remaining. Start adding water slowly and pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. Turn out onto a work surface and knead the dough once or twice with the heels of your hands till the dough comes together. Divide it in half and flatten into disks. Wrap separately in plastic and refrigerate.
In the meantime, make your filling. In a pan mix together the pitted cherries, cherry jam (optional), cornflour, cinnamon, clove and heat for a couple of minutes till thickened. Cool and add the lemon juice. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
Lightly flour your work surface and using a rolling pin, roll out the bottom crust until it is 1/8 inch thick. Lay it into a pie dish and fit the dough in by pressing the edges around the rim. Trim the edges with a kitchen scissor, so that they extend beyond the edge of the pie by 1 inch. Place it in the refrigerator while you roll out your bottom crust. Spoon in the filling. Place pieces of cut up butter on top of the filling.
Make a lattice to cover the pie.
If you are keen to learn how to make a lattice for the top, see the tutorial here: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_lattice_top_for_a_pie_crust/.
Otherwise simply roll out the second dough into a round disk. Gently place on top of the filling in the pie. Pinch top and bottom dough rounds firmly together. Trim the excess dough. Flute the edges with a fork. Make small cuts on the top dough for the steam to escape.
With a pastry brush glaze the top crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar.
Put the pie in a pre heated oven and bake at 200C for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160C and bake further for 25 minutes or until the crust appears golden brown.
If you find that the crust is burning, place a piece of aluminum foil over it and continue to bake the pie.
Allow to cool completely before serving.
If desired, serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla icecream or have it as it is.