Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photo by Kelly Hong © 2000 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Just about anyone can open a can of cherries and turn into a pie crust, but when the cherries are fresh for such a short time each year, it's great to have real cherry pie. So indulge and enjoy! Fruit pies are best eaten the day they are made, you can refrigerate left-overs, but don't expect the crust to hold up, it will begin to soak up the filling juices and there isn't too much you can do about it! How to weave a lattice pie top crust
PIE RECIPE HELP
My method of rolling pie dough is simple, beat it. I always shape it into a circle and flatten it as soon as it's made. This helps it to chill faster (and evenly) and it's already in a round shape to make rolling faster. I lightly flour my rolling surface and rolling pin, then I set the dough on the surface and beat it, yes, beat it. I take the rolling pin and smack it to begin flattening the dough, then turn over and beat it in the opposite direction. I do this about 4 times, always in opposite directions from the other. Then I quickly can roll it (turn after each roll) into the shape I need. I keep from sticking, keep it moving. A long angled spatula or long knife helps keep from sticking. If small crack develop, especially after the first few beatings, be sure to press them together, if flour gets in them, they will just get bigger and bigger and make your life miserable. Do not fret if you do get a crack, especially when you transfer the dough, just dab some ice water on the surface and press it back together.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 cup cake flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
-----3 cups of pastry flour can be substituted instead of the all-purpose and cake flours
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup regular Crisco shortening, at a cool room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, cut into tiny cubes and keep in the refrigerator
Ice Water, I keep a cup on hand, but only use what you need .more on that later
5 to 6 cups freshly pitted cherries---2 1/2 to 3 pounds of cherries, be sure the skin is firm and plump and not mushy in any way
3/4 to 1 cup sugar---taste the cherries, if they are sweet use the 3/4 cup, if they have a tart edge, use 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 to 4 tablespoons instant tapioca; if the cherries seem very juicy, use the larger amount
To make the pastry:
In a large bowl, mix the flours with the sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture until small pea like lumps form. This is best done with your hands, or a pastry blender (that "thing" which looks like a handle with half circle wires). Then toss in the tiny butter cubes and cut for a few more times, then add the water. Only add water slowly, about 2 tbsp at a time. Toss with a fork and then add the next amount of water to the dry area of the crumbs. Keep doing this until there is very little dry crumbs left. You don't want a soggy mess, but lumps beginning to form. Gently knead (just a few strokes) the mass together and divide in half. Pat into rounds and flatten in your hands, then wrap firmly in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours, but I prefer to chill overnight.
When you are ready to make the pie, have ready, a basic 9-inch Pyrex pie plate or a deep dish 8-inch Pyrex pie plate. Roll out one disk of dough** and using your rolling pin, roll up the dough and transfer to the pie plate, gently ease the dough down into the plate, don't stretch. Trip the edges with scissors about 1/2 inch from the edge. Store this in the freezer until you need it.
To make the filling:
Toss the pitted cherries in a bowl with the filling ingredients. Fill the bottom pastry and set aside.
To top the pie:
Dampen the pie's edge with ice water. Then roll the second piece of pastry out, as you did with the bottom crust, roll it onto the pin and then line up with the filled bottom crust and roll over the top. Press the edges together and trim them with scissors about 1/2-inch from the edge. Press together as you fold the top over the bottom and press again. Crimp the edge, with a knife, slice a few decorative slashes in the top to vent steam and then refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, when you pop the pie into the fridge, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F. Set your rack on it's lowest setting. In thirty minutes, remove the pie from the fridge and brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar (this helps give a nice crisp top with a sweet edge). Place the pie into the oven on the lowest rack and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, but don't open the oven for 40 minutes. I would check the pie after about 45 minutes, then use your eyes to judge when it's done.
A pie like this needs it's filling to boil to thicken. Be sure it's boiling for several minutes before removing it from the oven. The Pyrex plates make it easy to look at the bottom and check to see if it's brown. The colored plates are pretty, but it's hard to check to doneness with them. I always place a piece of foil on the bottom of my oven for spill overs, you will probably have them when the filling comes to a boil.
When done, place pie on a wire cake rack to cool.
Store pie at room temperature for a few days. If it's hot outside, refrigerate. Pie can be frozen for a month or more.