Having professed my love of tart cherries last week, I’m sure you can understand my remorse now that cherry season has come to an end. Rather than mourn their passing, however, I’ve decided to celebrate their sour little lives by baking one last cherry pie. (Put another way, I’ve got a freezer full of cherry muffins and there’s still another quart of pitted cherries in the fridge.)
I’ve used both of these recipes for several years now. The first, for pastry dough, uses a food processor to mix the dough. That alone makes it a winner in my book. The recipe, however, makes only enough pastry dough for one 9 inch pie crust. I’ve found that I get better results if I make 2 batches of dough, rather than doubling the recipe for a double-crusted pie. Don’t ask me why but that’s just the way it works. The recipe for the pie filling is about as simple as can be. Flour, not cornstarch or tapioca, is the thickening agent and there’s no need to pre-cook the fruit filling mixture before placing it into the pie shell. So, if you’re good working with pastry dough, you can have a pie in the oven pretty quickly. Me? It’s an afternoon project, often including wailing, the gnashing of teeth, and the rending of garments.
There is one last thing to consider, especially if you, like me, tend to throw common sense out the window when you see all the pretty quarts of tart cherries lined up in the market or at some farmer’s stand. I mean, how can you not buy a few quarts? It all makes perfect sense until you arrive home and realize that you have to pit them all before you can do anything else with them. Well, there is hope for us. I’ve found a website that should be called “How to deal with the fruit and stuff that result from ChgoJohn going to a farmers’ market.com?” It has been called, instead, Kraft Foods something or other and it explains how to freeze a variety of baked goods. You can reach it by clicking here and I recommend that you bookmark the site. It’s one of those web pages that you probably won’t need today, you may not need tomorrow, but you are going to need it some day.
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Food Processor Pie Crust Recipe
Yield: One 9 inch pie crust
For best results:
- Do not over-process the dough.
- Use only enough water to create a crumbly texture.
- Do not run the processor long enough to form a dough ball. Use your hands to do that.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled/frozen, cubed
- 5 tbsp shortening, chilled/frozen, cubed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp ice water
- Add flour and salt to the processor. Pulse it a few times to mix the 2 ingredients.
- Add the very cold butter and shortening cubes.
- Pulse the machine 3 times, with each pulse lasting a 3-count. Your ingredients will now be lightly mixed.
- With the machine running, slowly add the ice water. Do not add so much that a ball of dough forms. Remove the lid and, with your hands, test the dough to see if a ball of dough can be formed.
- If so, turn the dough until a very lightly floured service, form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- If a dough ball will not form, add a little more water, pulse the machine a couple of times, and test it again. When you can form a ball of dough, follow step A above.
- After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge and roll it until large enough to completely cover the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Place the dough into the pan, trim any access, and return the crust and pan to the fridge until needed further.
- I usually postpone handling the 2nd pie crust, the “top,” until just before it is needed. The colder the dough going into the oven, the flakier the crust coming out.
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Cherry Pie Recipe
- Pastry for 1 double-crust 9 inch pie.
- 4 cups fresh, tart cherries, pitted
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup ap flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 tbsp milk
- Pre-heat oven to 425*.
- Use half of the pastry dough to line the pie plate. Place it in the refrigerator to chill until needed.
- Gently combine the cherries, sugar, flour, salt, and almond extract.
- Roll out the other half of the pastry and prepare for use. If covering the entire pie, leave as is. If creating a lattice, cut the strips. If, as I did, you’re creating leaves, use a stamp to form them all, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until needed.
- Pour the cherry mixture into the chilled pie shell and dot the pie with the cubes of butter.
- If covering the entire pie, spread the top portion of the pastry dough, seal its edge with the bottom’s dough, crimp the edge, and create slits in the top to allow steam to vent.
- For a lattice cover, retrieve the strips and, starting at one end of the pie, weave a lattice across the pie’s top. (See Notes below.)
- For a leaf top, place the dough leaves across the top, being careful to leave enough openings for steam to vent.
- Use a pastry brush to coat the upper crust with milk. Sprinkle the top with a light dusting of sugar.
- Bake on a baking sheet — in case of overflow — in a pre-heated 425* oven for 35 to 40 minutes until golden.
- Allow to cool before serving so that the filling sets properly.
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The reason one sees so many lattice-topped cherry pies is because a woven top allows the pie’s juices to evaporate somewhat during the baking process, making for a better pie. Cook’s Illustrated Magazine’s book, Baking Illustrated (p. 148), suggests creating the lattice on parchment paper and not atop the pie. Once woven, place both the lattice and parchment paper in the freezer. When the lattice is firm, gently transfer it from the paper to the pie’s top and carefully connect it to the bottom crust. Brush it with milk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake as directed above.
And so ends this year’s journey down Cherry Lane, where pitting is such tart sorrow.
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Yeah, it all sounds fantastic, but tasting is believing. Kindly bring a piece to the ballgame today so I can judge for myself. Thanking you in advance.
Oh, my poor Dear. Would that I could, but I can’t so I shan’t. Blessed are those who have not tasted but yet believe. GO CUBS!!!
Oh, my! I adore cherries in any shape or fashion! I made cherry muffins earlier in the week! This pie I must try! Thank you!
I, too, love cherries and hate that tart cherry season is so short. This year, I’m happy to say that I’ve got a few quarts squirreled away in my freezer. There are muffins and another pie in my future! Thanks for stopping by.
Oooh… you’re a fantastic pie baker! Look at all those pretty leaves on top!! I did a blueberry pie with stars so I know the attention and detail you put into this! I think we still have some cherries in the markets here, so I’m very tempted to bake this pie this weekend!
Thank you, Linda. I have such a hard time handling pastry dough that making the leaves was easy in comparison. Besides, I bought a set of these leaf stamps last year and have been itching to try ’em out.
Look at that crust. I’d say you’ve outdone yourself, but I’d be repeating myself!
Outdid myself? Did you get a look at the fig tart you posted earlier? Your tart and Linda’s peanut butter cheesecake pics should get some sort of award.
This looks stunning and I love the info you give on why the crust should let out the steam. I have some frozen cherries in my freezer waiting for that last special dish…could be this one I think!
Well, if I can sway you, bake the pie! I’ll take a fruit pie over just about any other sweet offering, any day. I know it’s too late but I’m going to my favorite farmers’ market tomorrow, hoping to find the last of the tart cherries. Yes, I want to bake another pie but your post on jam has me thinking about giving cherry jam a try. So, thanks for your comments and inspiration.
Could I have 2 slices please? Superb recipe and with a cup of tea on the side, I would be very happy.
Have a happy weekend.
Two slices? I think you and I would get along very well. It was a bitterweet moment when I served myself that last piece of pie. Thanks for your comments, Mandy, and you, too, have a great weekend.
I was the lucky recipient of a slice of this pie last week and I have only two words to say: MORE PLEASE!
I fear I’ve created a monster.
Cherry pie typically isn’t my favorite, but your cherry pie looks absolutely amazing. Might have to reconsider my stance. 🙂
You live far enough away that your choosing to make a cherry pie will not affect my supply of cherries in any way. So, go ahead and give it a shot. On the other hand, should you move east of the Mississippi, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
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A stunning pie! Absolutely excellent.
Believe me. Having seen all of my previous pies, there was no one more stunned than I with how this one turned out.
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“Pitting is such tart sorrow!” Great line! And great pie. We’re swamped with cherries, blueberries, early peaches, and other stone fruit at the moment – I love it! My favorite time of the year. We haven’t made a cherry pie in ages – definitely need to get some tart cherries and go to town. Great tip on not letting the food processor actually form a dough ball. I’ve learned I get much better results with dough (including pasta dough) if I let the machine crumble it up until it looks like coarse meal, then squeeze everything together into a ball with my hands. Anyway, good post – thanks.
Thanks, John, for today’s comments and for always taking a look at the blast from the past recipes. Your support means a great deal to me.
I don’t make very much pie pasty, although it’s guaranteed I will during tart cherry season. As much as I like a piece of cake, it cannot hold a candle to a piece of pie. Apple, blueberry, and yes, tart cherry. I love ’em all!
Only recently have I stopped letting the food processor run until the pasta dough forms a ball. I seem to be getting better results — or maybe it’s the 00 flour. Either way, it works. Hope you and Mrs. Kitchen Riffs have a great 4th of July!
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Your pie is so beautiful that I almost didn’t dare make my own. I am glad I did though. It may have been homely to look at, but it was delicious. Thanks for giving me one more reason to look forward to cherry season!
The “beautiful” top came about because my first attempt looked so bad. I removed it, pulled out a stamp, and “re-purposed” the original. I was desperate! No one was more surprised to see it than I was.
Thank you, nonetheless, for the nice compliment. I’m so glad that you liked the pie. From experience, few will notice the top if the filling is good. 🙂
Beautiful! Your photography almost inspires me to try baking in summer. But I have a no oven after Memorial Day rule down here in Dallas (aka the surface of the sun).
I can fully understand. I always buy another pie’s worth of cherries, then pit and freeze them. In January, when Winter is at its worst, I bake a cherry pie. It’s an act of defiance — and a tasty one, at that! 🙂
Ha! That’s why I make peach jam in October! All of my peaches (few as they were) are sliced and in ziplocs, waiting for a cooler day! I’ve made a jar of fridge okra pickles, but it’s just too damn hot to do any boiling water preserving down here right now.
I think if you tried, your family and friends would contemplate having you committed. Best wait till Fall in well underway. 🙂
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