Monday, June 23, 2008

All food in pie form - Cherries [RECIPE]

I do believe I have said this before, but I have some awesome neighbors.

Also some shitty neighbors, but that's only one house out of a whole block (as far as I've researched anyway), which isn't bad. For future reference though, just remember that I have one house of shitty neighbors and we'll just never speak of them again. We'll just assume that when I say Awesome Neighbors that we're not talking about their stupid asses. Yay!

Anyway, one of my awesome neighbors has an awesome cherry tree. One of those ones with a bunch of grafts of different types of cherries, so when it fruits you get tiny sour perfect looking bright red cherries and gigantor almost black super sweet cherries and then some variety in between.

In a word, it is miraculous. I love this tree very much. Even more, I love the ladder she puts by the tree and the open invitation she extends to Bubba and I (and other neighbors, too. I'll admit we're not the *only* special ones) to just come pick as many as we want PLEASE HELP ME whenever we feel like it.

Tell me that's not just plain rad.

A few weekends ago we decided to traipse over there with our sacks and pick us up some cherries. Unfortunately we'd waited a little too long and the biggest boon was to be had at the tippy top of the tree. Thankfully, Bubba's arms are long and his resolve is strong, so swinging from the ladder while picking cherries behind his head wasn't a problem. At least not one that required a frantic call for an ambulance.

Although I did have 9-1- dialed on my cell phone just in case, per our usual emergency response strategy.

After the Extreme Cherry Picking Expedition, I headed back across the street with my two sacks of cherries and a loaner pitter (See - she is awesome. She loaned me her pitter, too. Rad.) with a clear vision of the pie I was about to hatch. And this time I was going to make a crust from scratch since the Fresh Strawberry Pie which we loved so much, was sorta not as good as it could have been due to its store-bought crustiness. Boo.

And really, if I'm going to all the trouble to pit a truckload (there were so many geez man) of cherries, I'm putting them in a really good crust.

So, that's what I did.

I made up the crust from scratch, which took all of 10 minutes (given that five of those minutes included the strain of cutting in the butter by hand with a pastry cutter BUT WHATEVER I'm a slave to my pies) and then pitted cherries which took a lot longer but was totally worth it.

Oh the mess I made. It was a glorious, if not slightly alarming, time in my kitchen after which everything needed to be washed including me. And my fingers were stained purple for all of last week. Pretty!

And in a moment of unknown sisterly bonding, my sister was making the same exact pie at the same exact time from the same exact recipe two states away which she told me about the next day and HOW WEIRD ARE WE ANYWAY?

Fresh Cherry Pie
Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking's Cherry Pie recipe
My changes in bold
2 pie crusts (I recommend Joy's recipe for Flaky Pastry Dough)
4 C fresh sour and sweet cherries
2 2/3 tsp cornstarch
1 1/3 C sugar 1 drop almond extract or none at all
2T butter

First, make your crust and while it's cooling in the fridge, pit your cherries. Once you've cleaned up the wreckage from the cherry pitting, you can mix your pie filling.

But first, preheat your oven to 450.

In a good sized bowl, combine cherries, sugar and cornstarch. Let this sit for a few minutes for some reason (Joy of Cooking says so?). Once it's sat for a whatever amount of time you can manage (15 mins should be good - go have a cocktail and come back) add the almond extract (if you're using it) and mix well. You should probably taste it at this point because YUM.

Go retrieve your pie crusts from the fridge and carefully lay one on the bottom of your pie pan. Now pour the whole mess of cherry filling into that pie crust. Cover your pie with the second crust in whatever way suits you.

I am very lazy and just toss the crust on top and slice in some vents. My sister, on the other hand, was clearly gifted with the patience in the family, and is able to summon the energy at this point to make up a lattice top crust which is very fancy.

If you are equally fancy or not burnt out from pitting cherries, feel free to do the same. Or get WICKED crazy like this chick and make flowers and twisty ties and what not to go on top. But, if you're in my house making cherry pie and you start messing with these kinds of shenanigans, expect to be hassled by Bubba because you're TAKING TOO LONG WHEN WILL THE PIE BE READY I DON'T CARE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

Oh, my favorite and most useful baking tip/warning: For godsake, put a foil covered rimmed baking sheet under your pie in the oven. Please.

I like to set up the racks in the oven so that they're stacked as close together as possible in the middle of the oven so that I can slide the baking sheet RIGHT under the pie without having to actually put the pie on the sheet and risk a soggy crust.

Just whatever you do, DO NOT, bake your pie without some kind of protective thing going underneath unless you really like to clean burnt pie crap off your oven innards, because inevitably the delicious cherry filling will just come a-bubblin' out and over the side and onto the bottom of your oven like sweet molten PAIN IN THE ASS TO CLEAN OFF goo.

See this? Imagine if there hand not been a baking sheet there to catch the goo. I would be cleaning my oven still at this moment. LAME.


Bake your pie with whatever crust for 10 mins at 450 then reduce to 350 for 40 mins longer or until golden brown and the filling is doing the aforementioned a-bubblin'.

Then remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack or your stove top or whatever way you cool things normally. And, when you do have a slice (or half the pie - BUBBA), I imagine it'd be quite good with some vanilla ice cream all a la mode or whatever on the side. Sadly, we didn't have any ice cream.

But, we did have just enough cherries left over for me to try my hand at Black Cherry Chip ice cream...


  1. So gorgeous. I actually made sour cherry cobbler this weekend. Which was fantastic in its own tart and wine-soaked way, but yours look so sweet and yummy.

    And I'm totally in the market for a cherry pitter, 'cause we did it with straws and pastry tips. But, even with that nonsense, it was worth it.

    Oh, and the idea of the mess from your cherries reminds me of an Onion headline, "Explosion at Ketchup Factory Not as Bad as It Looks".

  2. How awesome are you?! Kev actually asked me the other day if I even liked pie, which made me wonder if he knew me at all, but it turns out he was fooled by the fact that I never bake pie. A little scared -- not sure why. But I think I'm going to have to try after seeing your yummy creation here. Would that I had rad neighbors supplying free and delicious cherries....

  3. Free cherries for the taking? That IS just PLAIN RAD. And so's your blog, Ms. Finny.

    Also, did you know you can pit cherries with a paper clip? Yes. A partially unbent large paper clip. You use the curved end and it just pops those little bastards out. Still takes too damn long, but at least you wouldn't have to borrow your neighbor's and then have to spend all that time washing it when you could be eating pie.

  4. And then when all the pits are out, you invite the neighborhood over for a cherry pit spitting contest. Winner gets a pie. How white trash am I?

  5. MTJ: It tastes even better...

    Wendy: Right? It looked like CSI would be sweeping through any moment with those blacklight thingees. I recommend the OXO pitter. It has some special shield and is super smooth to operate :)

    Meg: Go to your awesome and rad farmer's market and get some cherries while they're in season and make yourself some pie. Then hog it all and tell Kev that Well I love it so much I'm not sharing! ;)

    clockworkpink: Bubba agreed. Very yummy indeed.

    Kristin: You know, I started to pit them with a drinking straw, but when my neighbor offered to loan me her pitter, I couldn't resist. And, I'll be honest, way easier to use and it took mere seconds to rinse off. WORTH IT.

    Decca: White trash nothing. I say we have a cherry pit spitting contest and whoever can get the most in the shitty neighbor's yard, wins.

  6. Sis -- I'm so jealous you had a cherry pitter! I had no idea about the straw/pastry tip/paperclip solution, so instead I cut each and every cherry in half and pulled the pit out with my very clean finger nails. What a pain in the A**. Next time I will definitely try one of those other options since I believe we have all three just laying about the house.

  7. Oh yum... I am so wanting a cherry pie now... yours looks beautiful... yum:)

  8. I have to say I'm a little disappointed in your crust work. No lattice-and-flowers a la Edelweiss!? ;-)

    Looks and sounds gooood! I think I've put on 5lbs just reading your blog before breakfast!

  9. Well, that's it. I have to stop coming here. There's no way around it. I'm just not into self torture. First it was garden envy, now it's PIE SEASON. I can't bear it. Your pies are simply too mouthwatering to look at.

    I don't even want to talk about the cherries. I'm so jealous!


    P.S. Your Swiss chard salad looks great! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, though I'm surprised you didn't just make a chard pie instead.


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Look at you commenting, that's fun.

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Sucks, right?

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