Bowl Full of Cherries

The cherry tree in our backyard was more than ready for picking so my wonderful boyfriend gathered a ginormous bowlful of cherries for us.  I knew we'd never be able to eat them all before they went bad so I took a study break and got to work on a pie.  So many cherries, so little time...

She's My Cherry Pie

What You Need:
For Crust (makes 2 crusts for a 9-in. pie pan):
2 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) cold butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 - 3/4 cold water
Note: It's important the butter and water be cold - like, straight out of the fridge.

For Filling:
4 cups pitted cherries (frozen will work fine, but the fresher the better!)
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of cherries
4 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

What To Do:
For Crust:
1.  Combine dry ingredients and cold butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
2.  Add cold water, a little at a time, until dough forms.  Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty.  I find it easier to mix by hand at this point.
3.  Roll dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  In the mean time, make the filling.

For Filling:
1.  If using fresh cherries, pit them at this point.  This step is actually very easy if you use a cherry pitter, which I found at the grocery store for $5.
2.  In a medium saucepan, heat the cherries over medium heat until they start to release their juices.
3.  Remove from heat.  Add in the sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract, and almond extract.  Return to low heat for a few more minutes until thickened.  (If it gets too thick, just add a little water.)
4.  After it's all combined and thickened, remove from heat and set aside.

1.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Remove dough from fridge and separate into two equal-sized balls.  
2.  Roll out one ball into a circle that fits a 9-in. pie pan.  Be sure to make it just a little bit bigger so you can fold the sides over (see photo above).
3.  Place in pie dish and add cherry filling (don't worry if it's not completely cooled).
4.  Roll out the other ball of dough for a top crust.  You can slice it into 1-in. strips to make a lattice top (in photo above) or just place it over the top as a solid crust.  If you do a solid crust, be sure to cut slits in the top to allow heat to escape.  You don't want a cherry explosion in your oven!!
5.  Fold the edges of the bottom dough up and over the top dough to seal the two together.
6.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until crust is cooked through and golden brown.  Remove from oven, let cool for a bit, then enjoy!

Here's a photo of the ginormous bowl.  (I included the coffee cup for scale):

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