Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Easy As Pie

I love pie, especially cherry pie. It's the perfect combination of sweet, buttery, tart and fruity and it's more perfect if you make all the ingredients from scratch. Making a pie from scratch may seem daunting but it's quite easy and people will rave about how delicious it is. My in-law's cherry tree was laden with fruit this year so I picked, pitted and canned my own cherry pie filling so I could enjoy delicious pies all year long without having to buy canned pie filling from the store which I find too sweet and fake-y. 

This is my best crust recipe, adapted from one of Martha Stewart's. I get so many compliments on this pie crust, particularly from people (like myself) that don't usually like pie crust.
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup/ 2 sticks of chilled unsalted butter.
  • 6- 8 tbsp. ice water
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix very well to insure it's well blended. Add butter by slicing it into pats and cutting the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course meal. A few pea sized pieces of butter is fine. Sprinkle the mixture with 2 tbsp. of ice water at a time and working the dough with the pastry blender. Continue adding water and working dough until it's crumbly but holds together when pinched. Don't overwork the dough. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form into 2 3/4 inch thick discs. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two or until firm. *This recipe makes two pie crusts which you'll need for a latticed pie. I recommend always making two at a time since you can freeze them for several months.*

Cherry Pie Instructions:
  • two pie crusts
  • tow cans or jars of pie filling
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream or half & half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out pie crusts on a lightly floured work surface to less than a 1/4 inch thick. Place one pie crust in the bottom of your pie dish. 

Pour pie filling into the pie dish, it should be very full and a little heaped up in the center. Slice the butter into pats and place throughout filling. Cut the second pie crust into strips and lattice them over the top. Fold the hangover from the bottom crust onto the latticed crust and crimp to seal.  
Whisk the egg white with the heavy cream and brush over the entire latticed crust. This insures that the crust will be golden and flaky without burning or drying out. Bake for an hour and half, until the filling is bubbling and the top and bottom (lift the pie out of the oven and look at the bottom- helps if you use a clear glass dish) crusts are golden.

A Few Tips and Tricks:
  • Cherry pie filling stains really badly- wear a full apron to avoid messes.
  • If you have a glass stove top use this surface to work your dough. The dough sticks less and clean up is easy.
  • Make sure your filling doesn't have too much liquid when you start. The cherries will cook down quite a bit. Drain off extra juice before you fill the crust.
  • The pie is boiling when it first comes out of the oven. Let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving, preferably with vanilla ice cream.
Happy cooking!!

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