Friday, September 28, 2007

The Ugly Duckling: Cherry Pie

Pies, like everything, are not always perfect.

On the road to the "Baking Mecca" I seek, I understand that there will be some failures that teach me what not to do.

Now, before you think: "Holy lord, this girl has lost it and is now worshipping a Pie God." I'll cut to the chase.

This pie kinda sucked.
It looked bad.
The filling wasn't awful, but, it was pretty bland.
The crust, excellent.
But, overall, dissapointing.

After the initial upset of having an ugly, not particularly tasty pie, I realized:
The Recipe Sucked.

As a cook who hasn't quite mastered the skill of: Recipes by Osmosis, I have to rely on an actual, phsyical recipe.
I use sources that are reliable (or at least have enough good reviews that I feel confident in making/baking it).

This recipe reminded me that some recipes are flawed.
I found it a little strange that the filling ingredients were only: Cherries, sugar, and cornstarch.
But, because it was a recipe from a reliable source, I didn't question it. I followed it blindly, ignoring my pie instincts.

Lesson learned.
I may have 3/4 of an ugly-ass pie in my fridge, but, the lesson couldn't have been sweeter:
Sometimes it's not you, it's a shit-ass muthafucka of a recipe.

Have a great weekend Nesters...


pinknest said...

well it certainly looks nice! maybe some lemon juice? i haven't made a straight cherry pie in awhile. but SOUR cherry pie is my favorite, yes!

Sour Cherry Pie
(makes one nine-inch pie)

6 tablespoons flour
homemade all butter pie crust
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
7 cups sour cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the discs pf dough very thinly, about 1/8-inch thick, and about 13 inches in diameter .Drape over a 9-inch pie pan and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the beaten egg and milk together and set aside. In another large bowl, combine the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon, and pour into the chilled bottom crust. Dot all over with pieces of the butter.

Roll out the remaining dough to the same size and thickness. With the eggwash, brush the rim of the bottom crust, place the top crust on top, trim the excess overhang, and crimp the two crusts together into a decorative pattern with a fork or your fingers. Chill the whole pie in the fridge for another 20 minutes or until firm. Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with some sanding sugar and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 30 to 40 minutes. Some juice may leak out the top. Let cool before serving. Mmmm. Delicious!

Marc said...

Okay, first, love the stars on your pie!

Second, yes, that wasn't a good recipe. There's more to cherry pie than that, as you suspected after-the-fact. However, when working with fruit pies like cherry, blueberry or peach, they tend to bubble through the crust vents, so to avoid an ugly top, I limit the number of crust vents to three, cut them only in the center of the pie, and if a bubble-over does occur, I dab it up gently as soon as the pie comes out of the oven...that is, assuming that the bubble-over didn't occur too early on and the stuff is like epoxy on the top of the pie...but in that case, you may be able to lift it off with the edge of a knife.

Here's my favorite recipe for cherry pie. It's similar to, but slightly different than, Anita's. Good luck!

Sour Cherry Pie
48 ozs. sour pie cherries*, drained - reserve juice
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch ground allspice (very tiny bit!)
pinch cinnamon (again, very tiny bit!)
1/8 tsp. almond extract
5 Tbsp tapioca
10 drops red food coloring
dough for double crust pie
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsps half & half

Roll out dough for top and bottom of pie. Place one rolled dough in bottom of pie plate, refrigerate; cover the rolled top crust in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

*I use Trader Joe's Morello Cherries (24 oz. glass jar) or Oregon Brand Pie Cherries. Marco Polo also makes a good pie cherry, found in the Hispanic foods area of your supermarket.

Drain the cherries, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. In large saucepan, combine 3/4 c of the sugar, and the tapioca. Stir in the cherry liquid and cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbling. Remove from heat, stir in remaining sugar, butter, extract, spices, and food coloring. Stir in cherries. Let stand 10 minutes.

Remove bottom crust from fridge and fill with filling.

Slit top crust before carefully laying over filling. Fold top crust under edge of bottom crust. Flute edge or press with fork.

Beat egg with half & half. Brush top crust with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes until top crust is golden, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 30-40 mnutes longer until juices bubble and crust is uniformly brown.

I bake cherry pies with a cookie sheet lined with foil on the rack below to catch any drips.

I prefer tapioca over flour with fruit pies because the filling is brighter and has a nicer flavor zing to me than those thickened with flour.

Marc said...

Forgot to mention: don't use the tapioca if you decide to use a lattice top. The tapioca will become like little pebbles in the top third of the pie. Use cornstarch instead.

And just so there's no mistake, using flour produces a delicious pie as well - since you're in pie-making mode, you should try both ways and form your own opinion!

I also have an apple crumb pie recipe that I really like. I will post that on my blog later just so I can say I posted something. I am so bad about regular posting!