Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My First Attempt at a Cherry Pie

My father's birthday was last week and I wanted to make him something special. Since it's cherry season, I decided to make him a cherry pie from fresh cherries. My grandmother was an excellent baker and used to make all sorts of desserts and pies from scratch so I had a lot to live up to.

I researched cherry pie recipes online to get an idea of the proportions and methods and got to work.

Here is the recipe:

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons instant tapioca
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pie crusts (I used Pillsbury)
2 Tablespoons butter
Sugar to sprinkle on top

Here's how I made it:

The first step was to pit all those cherries! I used a paring knife and my thumb which resulted in disgusting, brown stained fingers. It was quite lovely...

I put all those cherries into a saucepan, covered and heated until some of the liquid began to develop from the cherries. I then added the sugar, cornstarch and tapioca to the mixture and let simmer until it thickened up. I also added the extracts being careful to remove from the flame to avoid setting my kitchen on fire.

Once the cherries had thickened to the consistency I wanted, I placed it in a bowl and cooled it in the refrigerator. As it cooled, it continued to thicken.

Now comes the pie shell. I did not make my own pie crust due to the fact that I'm very impatient with pie crust. I had enough variables to go wrong without worrying about getting a pastry dough to come out right. Thus, Pillsbury is my friend and makes a fabulous pie shell.

The pie filling was mostly cooled by this time. I poured it into the pie shell that was placed in a normal pie dish.

I then dotted the top of the pie filling with butter. I'm not entirely sure why this is done, but every recipe I read had this step. Since butter makes everything better, I figured why not!

I then added the second pie crust to the top of the pie. I cut slits in the top to allow the steam to escape. As a sidebar - this is the best looking pie I've every constructed. I really took my time to construct this without destroying it in the process. I'm done tooting my own horn now.

I baked the pie at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. After that I sprinkled the top with sugar and put it back in for about 10 minutes to brown the sugar.

Here is the final product:

The Verdict:

Mr. Picky Pants would not even try this pie. He stated that cherries remind him of cough syrup and he would not even take a bite.

But, this pie wasn't for Mr. Picky Pants, it was for my daddy. Needless to say both my mom and dad enjoyed the pie.

It was a delicious pie that had more texture and was not nearly as sweet as cherry pie made with canned cherry pie filling. Pillsbury came through for me, as usual, with a flaky, light pie crust. Overall, the pie was a success. I must say that the amount of time it took to pit all those cherries (about 30 minutes) was probably not the best use of my time and I don't know that I would take that on again in the near future, but it's nice to know that I can do it if I want. Overall, I was very pleased with my pie and I look forward to testing out more fruit pies as the fall approaches and more pie-friendly fruits come into season.

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