Thursday, February 27, 2003


But of course we had to share a cherry pie recipe with you this week! In honor of George (and Abe), the following recipe uses canned or bottled sour cherries. Canned cherry pie filling—a bright-red, gelatinous substance that bears only faint resemblance to the fruit from which it supposedly springs—is ubiquitous, while fresh cherries in February are not an option for most bakers. So we settled on sour cherries. Hopefully your store carries these cherries; they’re a tawny red, rather than neon-colored, and while unprepossessing in appearance, they carry a powerful flavor punch.

pie crust dough for a double-crust 9-inch pie (your favorite recipe, or use the one below)
5 to 6 cups (three 15-ounce cans or jars) sour cherries, packed in water
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) quick-cooking tapioca or 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) Pie Filling Enhancer
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) butter (optional)

Divide the dough in half, and roll one half into a 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan. Drain the cans of cherries, reserving 2/3 cup of water from one of them. Place the cherries and reserved liquid in a large mixing bowl. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and tapioca or Pie Filling Enhancer. Stir this into the cherries until everything is evenly combined. Stir in the almond extract and salt. If you’re using tapioca, let the filling sit for 20 minutes before using it to fill the pie shell.

Spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pan, and dot with butter, if desired. Roll out the second crust and place it on top of the filling. Cut a design (two cherries? a hatchet?) into the top to vent steam, and squeeze/seal the top and bottom crusts together, fluting with your fingers or a fork.

Place the pie on a parchment-lined (to catch any spills) baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Remove the pie form the oven, and cool it on a rack before slicing, so the filling can set up. Yield: one 9-inch pie, 8 slices.

This half-shortening, half-butter crust combines the best attributes of both: shortening’s flakiness, and butter’s flavor.

2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Mellow Pastry Blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) cold shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup (2 to 4 ounces) ice water

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Using your fingers, a pastry blender, or pastry fork, cut the shortening into the flour, mixing till fairly even crumbs form. Then cut the butter in small cubes (cut the stick into four lengthwise strips one way, flip it 90 degrees, cut four slices the other way, then cut across the strips to make 1/4–inch pats). Toss the butter into the flour mixture. Add enough water for the dough to come together and become and cohesive. Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap it well, and chill it for 20 minutes before rolling it out.

Nutrition information per serving (1 slice, 243g): 447 cal, 13g fat, 5g protein, 53g complex carbohydrates, 24g sugar, 7g dietary fiber, 1mg cholesterol, 433 mg sodium, 222mg potassium, 18RE vitamin A, 15mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 29mg calcium, 64mg phosphorus.
February 11, 2003

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