Friday, July 22, 2011

Look Ma! No cans!

  As you may have gathered from my previous post, peaches are a favorite summertime staple of mine. But one of my other true loves? Cherries. Cherries, cherries, cherries. When the season is right, I can't get enough. It is terribly ironic of course that cherries are one of the few things that don't grow well in Georgia, our winters are just not cold enough. So when available and perfectly ripe, I am perpetually broke.
  It was around this time last year that I started to wonder, "Why don't people make fresh cherry pies?". This kind of thinking has gotten me into trouble before. But it just didn't seem to make sense. The only cherry pie I had ever been acquainted with came out of a can and was a bizarre neon red color. Not good eats. After that epiphany, I was hell bent on making one. And I did. And it was amazing! I made another one this year, equally amazing! No more canned goopy red stuff!

Fresh Cherry Pie


For Filling:
7 cups fresh beautiful red cherries, pitted*
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar ( this depends on how sweet your cherries are. Really sweet? Go with less. )
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or 4 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of clove
pinch of ground ginger
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

For Pie Crust:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon sugar
2 sticks cold butter, cut into pieces
1/4 - 1/2 cup ice cold water
Egg wash ( 1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water beaten together ) and sugar for topping crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry knife, fork, or food processor until mixture is coarse and butter resembles small peas.
Add ice water, a Tablespoon at a time, until dough just starts to form.
Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll dough on floured surface into 14" rounds.
Line bottom of pie plate with dough, fill with cherry mixture, and top with remaining dough.
Trim edges of dough with kitchen shears and crimp with fingers or fork.
Cut several holes into top of pie, brush with egg wash, and generously sprinkle with sugar.
Feel free to garnish with leftover dough scraps formed into adorable shapes ( like cherries! )
Place pie dish onto baking sheet and place on lower 3rd of oven.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 1 1/2 hours or until fruit bubbles and crust is golden brown.

*Pitting cherries sounds like a complete pain in the ass, but it's actually quite fun if you have a good pitter (Beware: Just don't wear your favorite shirt, when all is said and done, you will look like the perpetrator of a gun shot homicide ). Invest in one that isn't total crap and it will serve you for years to come. Can be used for olives too!

Cherry Pie
*No cans were harmed in the making of this pie*

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