Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homemade Cherry Pie

An exceptionally ugly pie, thanks to haste and carelessness. Delicious, though.

Baking a pie is a deeply satisfying experience. The process, while time-consuming, is so easy and almost foolproof that it's hard for me to justify buying a pie at a store. Unless that store is The Upper Crust, in the bottom floor of Pryde's of Old Westport here in Kansas City.


Preheat oven to 425° F

1 cup flour plus 3 tbsp, with exra for rolling
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, sliced into about 8 pieces
3 tbsp ice cold water

Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together. Now the fun part: making sure the butter's cold, start tossing it into the flour. You can use a spoon to mix the butter in, or even easier, a food processor. However, the fun of pie crust is mooshing the butter into the flour with your hands. That's right: wash your hands up good, run them under some cold, cold water, dry 'em off, and get in there! Mix the butter and the flour together, stopping at some point mid-mix to pour in the ice water and blend it in.

This whole mixing process should take about five minutes, tops. Don't mix the flour and butter too much, or you'll start to produce more gluten, which will make your pie crust less flaky and more chewy. I would go with undermixing over overmixing on this one; leave some flour bits crumbled at the bottom. Any inconsistencies will either roll out or bake out.

Form the dough into two equal-sized balls. Roll them out with a rolling pin/bottle o' wine until they're about two inches wider than your pie tin. Lay one of the flats gently into your pie tin, pressing down into the corners.

To pre-bake your crust: Stab the bottom of your crust 5-10 times with a fork, then put it in the preheated oven. Alternately, you can butter a piece of foil, lay it butter-side-down in your pie crust, and weigh it down with uncooked rice or beans. This will prevent your pie crust from shrinking, but I don't know what it does to the usability of the beans, so I usually just skip it. IF you don't weigh your crust down, be sure to check it for bubbles every couple of minutes.

Bake your crust for about five or ten minutes, then open the oven door and reduce the temperature to 375°. Close the oven and let the crust bake for another five or six minutes, then remove it. Toss the foil.

As for your top crust, keep it rolled out and covered with a towel. If you want a lattice-top pie, slice it into inch-wide strips. If you want a more traditional pie, be sure to cut a few small holes in it, preferably in a cute design (little hearts or at least symmetrical circles), to allow steam to escape.

Preheat oven to 375°.

4 cups berries or cherries, washed, chopped, pitted, and whatever you need to do.
I used frozen cherries for this pie, so I didn't have to do
1 - 1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tbsp arrowroot powder, or 4 tbsp corn starch
pinch salt

Butter for dotting

Put the cherries (or berries) in a saucepan over medium heat and cover. Cook until the cherries simmer and lose a fair amount of juice, between 7 and 10 minutes. Turn off the heat to the stove, then mix in the sugar and arrowroot powder, then turn the stove back on and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook until lightly thickened, stirring frequently, then turn off the heat and let the mixture sit and cool. It will thicken more as it sits.

When the cherry filling is cool, pour it into the prebaked pie crust. Cover with the other pie crust, crimp down the edges with a fork, dot with butter* and sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top crust is golden - golden-brown.

*To dot with butter, just put a few tiny 'dots' of butter around the crust, focusing on the edges. You might even melt some butter down to wash the edges with, but that doesn't usually add much to the final

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that looks great! I once made an apple pie, but your lattice came out so much prettier!