Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cherry Pie

Fresh out of the oven, I baked this for the final awards night of Serial Killers - a late night comedy show that my husband is frequently in.  My first attempt at a lattice crust!  Not as pretty as I'd hoped, but still delicious.

I adore my Pie & Tart (Williams-Sonoma Collection) Cookbook and have been slowly working my way through each and every recipe.  If you like this recipe for Cherry Pie you may also want to sample the Cinnamon Apple Crumb Pie, Citrus Chiffon Pie, Orange Cream Cheese Pie, Blackberry Pie Pockets, or - my favorite - Key Lime Pie.

(For The Basic Pie Dough - makes 1 rolled out round and 1 rolled out rectangle)
2 1/2 cups (6 1/2 oz/200g) unbleached all-purpose (plain) flour

2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4oz/125g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" (6mm) cubes
6 tablespoons very cold water (or sub ice-cold vodka, which evaporates quickly and gives you an extra flaky crust)

(For The Filling)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups (24oz/750g) drained jarred or canned pitted sour cherries plus
1/3 cup cherry liquid
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Do NOT get what I have pictured here (Cherry Pie Filling); you want just cherries, not the full "filling" which comes already with added High Fructose Corn Syrup and other sweeteners and additives.

(For The Basic Pie Dough)
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar and salt.  Using a pastry cutter, two knives (in a scissor fashion) or your greatest tool - your hands - cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texure resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas.  

Ice cold butter works best

If you use your hands, be sure to use your fingers to pinch the butter, breaking it down into smaller pieces

Add the water (or vodka) one tablespoon at a time, and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.  The amount of water/vodka can vary depending on the time-of-year, weather, moisture in the air.  Use a discerning eye.

Split the dough in half (put half in the fridge).  Transfer first dough round to a work surface, dusted with flour.  Pat into a ball, and flatten into a disk.  Flatten the disk with 6-8 gentle taps of the rolling pin.  Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn.  Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed.

Begin rolling from the middle of the dough round, pushing outward and stopping the pressure 1/4 inch from the edge so that the edge does not get too thin.  Lift the dough, give ita quarter turn, and repeat rolling.  Use this frequent lifting and turning of the dough as a chance to gauge the thickness and to dus the work surface and dough lighlty with flour.  Roll the dough out about 1/8 inch thick.  If the dough tears, dampen the edges of the tear with water, overlap them, and roll the seam together, dusting with flour.

To transfer the dough to your pie pan, place the rolling pin at the top edge of your round;  using the least amount of pressure possible fold the top edge of dough over the roller and slowly roll towards yourself, wrapping the dough around the rolling pin until you have the entire piece wrapped like a scroll.  Place the pin at the bottom of your pie pan and slowly unroll.

Gently ease the dough into the pan, being careful not to stretch it, pat firmly into the bottom and up the sides.  (If it stretches, the dough will shrink during baking.)  Using kitchen scissors (or a pastry cutter), trim the edge of the dough, leaving 3/4" of overhang.  Place in the fridge, until ready to use.

Press any of the remaining scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the remaining dough half.  Pat the dough into a rectangle and roll out into a rectangular shape about 1/8" thick.  Trim to cut out a 14-by-11 inch rectangle and refrigerate until ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Place the cherries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the sugar mixture, and toss to distribute evenly.  Add the vanilla and the cherry liquid and mix well. Immediately transfer the cherry mixture to the dough-lined pan and dot with the butter.

Pull your dough rectangle from the fridge.  Make a lattice top by starting at the short end of the rectangle and using a pastry wheel or small, sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 strips, about 3/4" wide. 

 Lay about 8 of the strips across the filled pies shell horizontally.  Think of the top strip as number 1 and the bottom strip as number 8.  Fold the strips 2, 4, 6 and 8 back onto themselves to your left.  Lay a verticle strip down the center at a slight angle.  Unfold the strips.

Fold strips 1, 3, 5, and 7 onto themselves to your left.  Lay a vertical strip to the right of the center strip.  Unfold the strips.

Fold strips 1, 3, 5, 7 onto themselves to your right.  Lay a vertical strip to the left of the center strip.  Unfold the strips.

Add the remianing strips to both sides of the pie in the same manner.  Trim the edges of the strips even with the rim of the pan.  Fold the overhang from the bottom dough round up and over the edges of the lattice and crimp to seal.  Alternatively, fold the lattice and overhang underneath themselves to form a rim and press gently to seal.

To be honest, my dough was not cold enough and the lattice crust was falling to pieces. I didn't actually follow the steps above, but instead sort of shimmied each strip somehow into the lattice shape.

Refigerate the pic until the dough is firm, 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degress and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 40-50 minutes longer.  Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Serve at room temperature.

To serve the pie warm, reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  If desired, serve with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream.

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