It’s a cloudy, drizzly kinda day, after a late night/early morning of driving rain and thunderboomers – yay! It has been so dry here for so long that this is a more than welcome change in the weather.
Rain Dance of Joy aside, wouldn’t this be a nice time for a slice of cherry pie?
Rich came across this recipe while thumbing through the latest Bon Appétit, and thought it would be a good use of the cherries I’ve been freezing.
Of course, the nice folk at Bon Appétit had other ideas, and recommended I use these specific German cherries from Trader Joe’s.
Well, a trip to TJ’s is always a good thing, and I was recalling how sooo sweet the Cherry Cobbler I’d made with fresh cherries and that sugar cookie topping was, so I thought I’d give these guys a try. It turned out pretty good, too. I thought the pie a just a touch too sweet, Rich thought it a tad too tart, and everyone else involved thought it just about right.
I will warn you, tho’, if you use jarred cherries, there is a very good chance that some stones will get through – just about everyone at the very fine Persian-Filipino feast Golnaz’s Mom and Bob prepared ended up with a cherry pit or two on their plate. Well, Bob may have gotten a few extra, but then he did have that second piece of pie.
The bourbon, by the way, was a very light touch, I was expecting a bit more body and mebbe some of that smoky char. Next time I may play with the proportions a bit; or mebbe I should spend the money and use a better class of bourbon. We’d had a bit left in a bottle from the last couple of batches of Whiskey Dogs that I thought I’d just use up.
Still and all, one fine pie. And I now believe that I have perfected my sweet shortcrust recipe, so what’s to worry about a few pits on a plate?
Shortcrust (for 1 pie shell):
•2 cups flour
•1 tsp sea salt
•1/2 tsp orange zest
•1/2 tsp ginger
•1 tsp sugar
•4 tbsp butter, well chilled
•4 tbsp Crisco, well chilled
•2 egg yolks
•5 tbsp iced water
•1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
•1/4 cup flour
•1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2” pieces
•6 cups cherries, pitted (3 (24.7oz.) jars pitted sour cherries in syrup, well drained
•3/4 cup sugar (mebbe 1/2 cup next time)
•1/4 cup bourbon
•3 tbsp cornstarch
•2 tbsp orange juice
•1 tbsp orange zest
First, the shortcrust. Cut the butter and the Crisco into small cubes and chill.
Add the flour, salt, orange zest and ginger to the bowl of your food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse to combine.
Add the well-chilled butter and Crisco bits and pulse until the dough resembles a coarse meal – about 30 seconds.
Add the egg yolks and process until you have a soft dough.
With the processor running, add the ice water through the feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough (mostly) pulls together into a ball like this. This batch took 5 tablespoons of iced water to form.
Gather the dough together, shape into a rounded disk, then wrap in plastic or waxed paper and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Second, the crumble. Stir the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt together in a small bowl, then, using your fingertips, rub in the cold butter until it is well and truly (well, mostly – it’s a crumble after all, not rocket science) mixed into the oat and flour mixture. Set aside.
Now, for the cherries! Whisk the sugar, bourbon, orange juice, cornstarch, and orange zest together in a small bowl (see above).
Pour this mixture over the well-drained cherries in a large bowl and gently fold it into the cherries so they are more-or-less uniformly coated with it.
Finally, the pie! Now that you’ve rubbed your crumble together and gently combined your cherries with the bourbon and sugar mixture, your shortcrust should be just about ready to come out of the fridge.
But first, heat the oven to 350°
Unwrap the dough and lay it out on a waxed paper lined board. Cover with a second sheet of waxed paper and roll out into a round large enough to line your pie plate – I was using a 10 inch pyrex plate, and had just a bit of dough leftover.
Fit the dough into your pie plate and crimp or flute or tidy up the edges however you like to, then add the cherry and bourbon mixture and place the pan on a large, foil-lined rimmed pan to catch any oozy drippings.
Ermmm, crumble the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the cherry filling.
I happened to have picked up this cool silicone pie shield recently, and thought this a perfect time to try it out, so I positioned it over the edges of the pie pan and popped it all into the oven.
I baked the pie for 30 minutes with the shield on, then removed it and popped it back into the oven for another 40 minutes or so, until the crust and the crumble were both nicely golden-brown and the cherry filling was nicely bubbly and looked as though it had thickened up.
Remove the pie to a rack to cool for at least 2 hours before you cut into it to allow the filling to set.
Lastly, enjoy your pie! Or, cover it as I did, and let it stand for up a to day at room temperature before bringing it to a dinner party.
Easy as pie…