I promised vegetables, healthy dishes, and quick meals, and have totally failed you. But my intentions were good, and yes, I will get there. We’ve been doing well on reducing the amount of meat we eat, despite long hours and not much time to cook. And I have the makings of a gorgeous onion soup in the works, if the smell of the stock I’m cooking in the next room tells me anything. For now, though, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m horrible at making pie crusts.
It is the one thing that I don’t usually think twice about buying, even if it does cost about 5 times as much as it would for me to make at home. But as a wannabe food person, I still felt this lingering guilt. I mean, it should be easy as … pie. Right. Whoever came up with that phrase obviously didn’t have to actually make the stuff.
Good thing James seems to have the touch. He’s patient, and meticulous, and apparently has cooler hands that I do, because he made this crust, and it was gorgeous. Either that or it was the homemade butter (I swear — It was the store’s fault all along). Anyway, I won’t give you the recipe for the crust, because it’s the same as all the other recipes, and why would I ever pretend to be an expert when I can send you here, here, and here? I will tell you that we used 5/8ths homemade butter, 3/8ths shortening (it was on sale, what can I say), and the leftover buttermilk (not the same as the stuff in the store!) instead of water. I will also tell you that she is sooo right about keeping the butter VISIBLE in your crust.
The filling recipe is posted here, however. It is beautiful, not too sweet, a little tart, and incredibly simple. And you don’t even need to blind bake your crust! It’s a double crust anyway, so that’s probably not exactly unexpected, but hey, celebrate the little things. This recipe is adapted from The King Arthur Flower Baker’s Companion All-Purpose Baking Cookbook (phew, that’s a long title). So, in that spirit, I’ll give you another one:
Sweet tart cherry pie (or why Mr. Washington shouldn’t have chopped down that cherry tree after all, even if that story was a myth)
Makes 1 9″ pie.
- 1 9″ double pie crust
- 3 14.5 oz. cans of tart / sour cherries, packed in juice (we find these at *shudder* wal-mart. Cherries and King Arthur all-purpose flour, which we can buy in bulk there and nowhere else, are the only things I will ever buy at that store). Drain the cherries; reserve 2/3 c. of the juice for the pie filling.
- 3/4 c. golden syrup (or sugar — we ran out and therefore made do)
- 3/4 t. cinnamon
- scant 1/4 c. corn starch
- golf-ball sized piece of marzipan, broken into chunks (used in place of almond extract)
- 1/2 t. salt
- 4 T. milk
Mix the drained cherries, the reserved juice, golden syrup, cinnamon, corn starch, salt, and marzipan together until the marzipan is thoroughly soaked and the juice turns a semi-opaque pink. Make sure your pie crust dough is ready to go.
Pre-heat oven to 425°F / 220°C. If you have a large cast iron pan and are using a cheap pie tin, put this in the oven as well.
When the oven’s hot, line the bottom of the pan with the pie dough (see links above for tips; I tend to flour the dough and my rolling pin profusely, drape the rolled out dough over my pin, and then gently roll it out over the pan). Brush the dough with milk, to seal it a bit, and then spoon the cherry mix into the pan. Make sure to favor cherries over juice in the filling.
When the pan is full, overlay the top piece and crimp the edges to seal. Pierce a few times with a fork or knife (feel free to get creative). Place the pie in the oven, either over a cookie sheet or in the cast iron pan, and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F / 175°C, brush the outer crust with a bit of milk, and bake for another 35-50 minutes, or until the crust is gorgeous and golden, and the mixture has started boiling over a bit, threatening the cleanliness of your oven (hah).
Let it cool on a rack until just warm, so the corn starch has a chance to thicken the fruit mix.