My, Oh My! Cherry Pie

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.

Drunken Cherry Pie

Adapted from Meg in the Kitchen’s Brandied Cherry Pie

Prep These:

    For the pie crust
  • 1 bag, Bob’s Red Mill Pie crust mix
  • 20 Tbsp butter, cut into chunks, frozen
  • 7 Tbsp ice water
  • For on top
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a wee bit of granulated vanilla sugar
  • For the filling
  • 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:

  1. Pit the cherries. Cut in half.
  2. Combine brandy, sugar and cornstarch. Drizzle over cherries. Mix well.
  3. Chill in fridge to macerate for an hour.
  4. 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.
  5. Drizzle in ice water (no ice!) and combine until you have a moist sand consistency.
  6. 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.
  7. Once the dough has chilled, position rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Place larger disk between two large sheets of parchment paper.
  9. Roll out disk into 10" or so circle, and carefully put into ceramic pie dish.
  10. Pour in cherry mix.
  11. Roll out smaller disk, again between two sheets of parchment paper.
  12. Cut out decorative holes.
  13. Place top crust over pie plate. Seal. Cut slits, if necessary.
  14. Use egg as wash.
  15. 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.
  16. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
  17. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar as soon as pie is removed from oven.
  18. Allow to cool completely before eating.
  19. Enjoy!