Monday, May 23, 2011

Cherry pie with no fancy equipment

Yesterday I went to the Lagunitas beer circus in Petaluma for my friend Natalie's birthday.  On the way we stopped at a roadside fruit stand for a snack: super sweet delicious cherries.  Earlier today with the remaining cherries I decided to make a pie.  Waste not want not as my dad would say; it would be such a shame to let them go bad.  This pie satisfied every craving and pushed me into a massive pie coma.  Needless to say I'll sleep well tonight.

Cherry filling:
enough cherries to fill a pie, pitted
1/2 vanilla bean, insides scraped
2 TB corn starch
(optional sugar to taste if your cherries are not sweet enough)

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
6-8 TB ice water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Here is the part where I feel like Suzie homemaker.  I don't have a robocoup or a cuisinart to make the pie crust so I had to find a way to mix it by hand with really cold butter (cold butter and pie dough is key to a flaky crust).  I did research on the internet and came across some good advice:  Stick the butter in the freezer till hard (about an hour) and when ready to make the crust grate the butter on a cheese-grater.  Mix the grated butter in with the dry (flour salt sugar) by hand, clumping it with your fingers.  Add the ice water 2 TB at a time mixing inbetween with your hands.  It's ready when it all sticks together when clumped with your hands.  Knead it a little so it becomes one solid mass, don't worry if there are chunks of butter it will make the crust flaky.  Divide in 2 and put in the fridge for at least an hour to chill.  An hour later roll out half the dough 1/8 in thick and conform it to your pie dish.  I stick the empty pie dish with dough in the freezer while I work on the next step.

Put the pitted cherries in a sauce pan, heat on low till some of juice comes out.  Mix that juice with a little warm water, the cornstarch, and the insides of half a vanilla bean and pour all into your pie crust (taken out of the freezer).  Roll out the other half of the dough, place on top of your pie, smush the edges together, trim excess dough and crimp with a fork.  Brush egg on the top and sprinkle with sugar (for a nice golden crust).  Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

**If you do have fancy equipment you can pulse the cold butter and dry together till course and then add the ice water 1 TB at a time until it comes together.

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