Happy (Cherry) Pie Day!

by Sarah on July 5, 2011

There’s a pie party on the internets today!  I did my part by baking several cherry pies for my extended family at our family reunion in Bandon, Oregon this weekend.  My aunt Linda and her friend Eddie live near a cherry orchard in Washington and brought gallons of cherries with them.  I figured we should put some of them to good use.

Between layers of buttery pie crust.  Yee haw!

Because it’s Pie Day and all, and since I was on vacation, I decided to go for broke and make homemade pie crust.  Usually I make dough in the food processor but the cabins didn’t have them.  It’s really just as easy to use your hands.  Just try to have the butter as cold as possible.

Add a bit of vinegar and ice water sparingly, just until the dough comes together.  Dump it on the counter and knead it a couple of times, then form it into a disc and cover it in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least a half hour.

Contrary to popular belief, making pie dough takes about 10 minutes, if that—and that’s by hand!  Use a food processor and it will be even quicker.

For the filling, pit the cherries and mix them with all the filling ingredients.  Set aside until the dough is ready.

After the dough is cold, break it in half then roll out into circles, working from the middle outwards.  If you don’t have a rolling pin, an empty wine bottle works too!

The easiest way to get the big ol’ flat piece of dough into the pan is to fold in in half and then lift it onto the pan.

Unfold the dough and pat in into the pan.

Pour the filling in and place the other piece of rolled-out dough on top.  Pinch the ends together and using either kitchen scissors or a paring knife, trim off all the excess dough.  Flute the edges with your fingers, or just seal together using the tines of a fork.

You should cut some vent holes in the top too.  Make a circle, cut a shape wit a cookie cutter or just put slits in the top.  Then you have to chill the whole thing again before you bake it.

Halfway through the baking process, pull the thing out and brush it with milk or cream and sprinkle the outside shell with sugar. Don’t forget this step!  It makes the crust extra-special.

I used a combination of Bing and Ranier cherries but you can use whatever you want.  This recipe was created for a sweeter cherry though, so don’t use sour cherries for this one.

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Bing Cherry Pie

~Adapted from Food Network Magazine~

For dough:
3-1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks cold butter, diced
1 Tbsp cider or white vinegar
1/3 cup ice water

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and butter with forks, your fingers or a food processor.  Add the vinegar, then slowly add the water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together.  Knead it a few times and then form it into a disc.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or longer.

When dough is chilled, break it in half and roll into a circle, at least an inch larger than the pie plate.  Place into the plate and roll out the other half.

For filling:
6 cups Bing or Ranier cherries, halved and pittted
2 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp butter

Mix together all the ingredients except the butter.  Pour into the pastry-lined pie plate.  Dot with the 4 Tbsp butter.  Place the second pastry on top.  Cut some air vents in the second crust.  Chill the whole pie for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450*.  When the pie is chilled, place it into the oven and turn the heat down to 400*.  If you wish, cover the edges of the pie with foil or a pie protector.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Pull the oven open, remove the foil or protector, and brush the top of the pie with cream or milk, then sprinkle with sugar.  Bake again for another 30 minutes.

Let cool and serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Happy 21st birthday Zane!

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