Monday, July 11, 2011

Is She YOUR Cherry Pie?

Yesterday dad, the brothers, and I all went cherry picking.

Mmmm cherries!

So we are there at my dad's friend's house picking
right? A beetle hiding among the leaves decides to drop into shirt as I'm working. I don't want to freak out and cause a scene so what do I do? I set down my cherry bowl and smooshed the intruder. Turns out it actually went down my bra.... Awkward moment for me. So I continued picking cherries with a dead beetle, guts hanging out, touching my skin. Gross. I'm pretty sure reading this makes you lose your appetite for delicious cherry pie right?


You see, if you absolutely LOVE cherry pie, you should be well aware of the sacrifices you make while picking cherries. Yes, it all has to do with the cherry picking. I walked away only to have eaten about 7 cherries, I had a dead beetle close to my heart- literally, also I had a mess of various other bugs in my hair along with parts of rotten cherries. These are just some of the things I endured to be able to create such a wonderful dessert.

All together, we probably picked around ten pounds of fruit (not counting the five pounds we all consumed). Dad decided to give some away to a lady friend last night, but we still have enough to make somewhere around 30 pies.

Okay so maybe not that many, but enough to hold us over for a while (;

I can promise you that my cherry pie is best. From the flaky pie crust, to the sweet thick cherry filling, this pie is sure to win a few ribbons- and blue ones at that! It's great topped with real whip cream that I make myself, or with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Everyone knows that every good pie starts with an amazing crust. That is why I am the queen of cherry pies. So here's the pie crust recipe:

Flaky Pie Crust

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water


1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and sugar until well combined.

2. Using clean hands, add butter and toss until just coated.
Rub butter between thumb and forefingers to incorporate into flour mixture until butter is lima bean sized pieces and comes together in quarter-sized clumps when squeezed in palm, about 2 minutes.

3. Add shortening, toss until just coated in flour, then rub into flour mixture until mixture forms pea
sized pieces (some big chunks should remain) and comes together in fist sized clumps when squeezed, about 1 minute.

4. Drizzle
in half of the ice water, and rake through mixture with fingers until just moistened. Drizzle in remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and comb through mixture with fingers to moisten. It will go from being a shaggy mess to coming together.

****Dough is moist enough when it is moistened through but is not wet when pressed. (Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough.****

5. While rotating the bowl with 1 hand, push dough between other palm and side of bowl to gather into a ball. Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press it into a flat disk, then close in wrap. Place in coldest part of refrigerator (usually back bottom shelf) at least 30 minutes before rolling out and forming into a crust.

6. Place dough into a pie pan. Trim the edges. Poke the dough with a fork here and there. Bake at 250 degrees for 7 minutes. You do this so when you pour filling in, it won't make the dough soggy.

Now the other best part of the cherry pie is the cherry filling. I don't use canned cherry filling because honestly, it's disgusting. Instead, I spend hours working up a sweat in the hot sun picking cherries- one by one.

Actually, I only spent about an hour in nice weather picking handfuls of juicy, bright red, sweet cherries. Boy was this year's harvest a good one!!

Cherry Pie Filling

5 C. Pitted Cherries
(make sure you have a ratio of 3 parts sweet ripe cherries, and 1 part sour almost ripe cherries for the sweet and the tart)
1 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Lemon Juice
Approx. 1/4 C. Water (see directions before adding)
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch for thickening


1. Combine fruit and sugar in a pan and stir together. If cherries are soft and mushy, you won't need additional water, but if cherries are firm, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil.

2. Mix cornstarch with some cold water (about 2 tablespoons of cold water with 2 tablespoons corn starch), whisking to remove lumps.

3. When cherries are boiling, add thickening while stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add enough thickening to make the consistency you desire. (We like our pies fairly thick.) Stir the thickening as it bubbles, just until the juices are clear. (When the filling looks clear, it's fully cooked. Over-cooking will start to break down the filling.)

4. Pour into pie crust. Make a lattice or full top, whichever you would like. Make an egg wash by lightly beating as whole raw egg and brushing on crust. This will make it shiny, and add a nice gold color to the crust.

5. Bake pie at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes or until browned.

So there you have it. My yummy cherry pie! I swear it is the best. If you think yours is better, leave me a comment and we'll talk pie. If any of you give me a recipe that is better than mine, then I will reward you with a FREE gift and a special feature in my blog.

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Feel free to send me recipes to try or perfect. I will add them to my blog so be careful if you don't want me to unleash the secrets of your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother's chunky corn bread. Check back often to see what else I'm cookin' up!