Post #12 Cherry Pie
August 15, 2014
Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. If given a choice between several different desserts and I am unsure if I will like the others, anything with cherries can’t fail. And cherry pie could very well top my list of easiest desserts.
To start with, a pie is simply “a baked food composed of a pastry shell filled with fruit, meat, cheese, or other ingredients, and usually covered with a pastry crust”. The concept of putting foods in a pastry crust before baking is quite old, probably starting with the Egyptians. In the past few centuries pies were, for the most part, main dish meat pies. Most really old cookbooks will list many various combinations of savory fillings. Fruit pies were probably first made in the 1500s. Even Queen Elizabeth I has been credited with baking the first cherry pie. I doubt the Queen herself would have spent any time in the kitchen, but it is an interesting legend. We here in America will usually think of fruit as the filling of choice, intending the pie to be dessert. There are so few ways to mess up cherry pie, you just can’t go wrong. Please give this a try. You just can’t believe how much better this is than opening a can of pie filling. For your first try you may want to use refrigerated pie crusts. Then you will understand the meaning of the phrase ‘easy as pie’.
Cherry Pie Start to Finish
4 cups pitted fresh or frozen sour cherries
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 recipe pie crust, below
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Double Crust for Cherry Pie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup shortening
5 tablespoons cold water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, tapioca and extract. Add the cherries and toss well. Let stand 15 minutes to half an hour. The juice needs to start to run so the tapioca softens before baking. For bottom crust, trim one inch larger than 9-inch pie plate. Place into pie plate and gently press pastry to fit. Trim edge even with pie plate. Add filling to unbaked pie crust and dot the top of the fruit with the butter. Lift top crust onto filled pie. Trim to ½-inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold top edge under bottom crust and pinch to seal. Cut several slits in top crust to permit steam to escape. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until juices make bubbles that burst slowly. Cool to serving temperature. Great served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
For pie crust, mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in the shortening using pastry blender or 2 knives until all flour is blended and shortening forms pea-size chunks. Sprinkle with cold water, one tablespoon at a time tossing lightly with fork until dough will form ball. Divide dough in half. Press between your hands to form two 5 to 6-inch pancakes. Roll dough into circle on lightly floured countertop. Flour each piece of dough only as necessary to keep from being sticky. Roll to a little less than ¼ inch thick.
(I use frozen cherries but canned will also make a great pie. I have not tried this but substitute two 16 ounce cans pitted tart red cherries packed in water. Drain the cherries and mix the tapioca into ⅓ cup of the juice. Let this mixture sit for 5 minutes. Then mix in the sugar, extract and cherries. Proceed as described above.)