I have been obsessed with pie, lately. Also, cherries. (It was cherry season last week.)
The pie thing is fairly obvious. I mean, c’mon. Pie. In addition, though, I have been listening to back-episodes of KCRW’s Good Food, and the host, Evan Kleiman, is obsessed with pie. So, I’ve been having her in my ear, talking about a LOT of pie. On top of that, two of my favorite diners carry all sorts of yummy pie. The only kind they don’t carry is gluten-free. So I’ve known for a while that I need to learn, once and for all, how to make a damn pie crust, especially since all the pre-made gf pie crusts I could find were only sold during the holiday season.
I did what I always do when I’m learning how to do something that intimidates me. I pulled out the training wheels. In this case, that meant buying a piecrust in a box. Well, a bag, really. Bob’s Red Mill to the rescue! In addition, I did a lot of research on what makes a good pie crust, and what to do and what not to do when working with it. It turns out, a lot of the Not To Dos are related to not activating the gluten in the flour, so I felt I was already ahead of the game.
I did mention cherries were in season last week, didn’t I? They were actually in season for the last three weeks–and they’re gone already! The first week I found them, I bought a batch and made some of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s brandied cherries. Unfortunately, that recipe requires the cherries to set for about a month before they’re ready for eating, so I still can’t report on those. The second week, I bought another batch, but by the time the weekend rolled around, I was too pooped to pop. And then last week was, as you may have noticed, vacation. I had had Plans for baking during my vacation. Unfortunately, a nasty toothache-turned-root-canal sort of took over my time off, so I only ended up with one day where I felt up to cleaning the kitchen and then making pie. (And then cleaning the kitchen again, because we still don’t have a robot housekeeper.)
So I made pie on the last day of my mini-vacation.
Honey ate it. I ate it. We didn’t share.
…We also sort of didn’t take photos. Maybe next time.
Adapted from Meg in the Kitchen’s Brandied Cherry Pie http://meginthekitchen.blogspot.com/2009/07/brandied-cherry-pie-or-i-finally-found.html
- 1 bag, Bob’s Red Mill Pie crust mix
- 20 Tbsp butter, cut into chunks, frozen
- 7 Tbsp ice water
- 1 egg, beaten
- a wee bit of granulated vanilla sugar
- 2 lbs sweet cherries, pitted and cut in half
- a good slosh of brandy (Meg recommends 2 Tbsp. I probably did more than that)
- 1/2 cup or so of granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
Mix this way:
- Pit the cherries. Cut in half.
- Combine brandy, sugar and cornstarch. Drizzle over cherries. Mix well.
- Chill in fridge to macerate for an hour.
- Use a food processor to combine frozen butter into pie crust mix until pebbly consistency. Make sure dough stayed nice and chilled, including putting bowl in the freezer if/when you have to stop for a moment.
- Drizzle in ice water (no ice!) and combine until you have a moist sand consistency.
- Split dough in half (Okay, 2/3 and 1/3), and wrap dough in plastic wrap, form into ball, then discs. Chill for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has chilled, position rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat oven to 350F.
- Place larger disk between two large sheets of parchment paper.
- Roll out disk into 10" or so circle, and carefully put into ceramic pie dish.
- Pour in cherry mix.
- Roll out smaller disk, again between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Cut out decorative holes.
- Place top crust over pie plate. Seal. Cut slits, if necessary.
- Use egg as wash.
- Cut decorative pieces from remaining dough. Paste egg wash on back of cutouts and and place over blemishes on pie crust, with more egg wash on top.
- Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Sprinkle with vanilla sugar as soon as pie is removed from oven.
- Allow to cool completely before eating.