The One With The Pie

A week ago I read an article about summer pies in Bon Appétit magazine and proclaimed that I would make their cherry pie. The picture alone would’ve been enough to entice me to give it a go but the recipe called for such lovely aromatic spices – cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole nutmeg – that I couldn’t resist.

Though first, I procrastinated. A pie is, like, alot of work and my experience in baking them recalls frustration, mainly directed at the crust. It just never rolls out right for me and frankly, I didn’t anticipate it being any better this time because I don’t have a rolling pin. I had planned to use an empty wine bottle – a reasonable substitute, I think – but then Marc did the recycling and I was bereft of anything resembling a rolling pin.

So we bought the cherries. cimg6822-320.jpgLike a fool, I just grabbed a bag from the bin at the Berkeley Bowl that read “$3.69/lb” assuming – and this is where I went wrong – that they were one-pound bags. I mean, I don’t know how much a pound is, it just seemed logical. Marc wanted a second bag for eating and so we came home with an unexpected cherry expense of $15.99. Which seems outrageous at first but we would’ve spent that on a bottle of wine, so relatively speaking, I guess it is reasonable.

I painstakingly pitted a pound of these fancy cherries for the filling. The recipe called for three kinds of cherries in the pie: fresh bing, dried tart, and jarred morello. cimg6829-320-3.jpgThe remainder of the dried ones are going to be great in scones or muffins and the remainder of the bings are quickly disappearing as breakfast food. Notice the aromatics; I wouldn’t have thought to add these on my own.

cimg6843-320.jpgPictured at left is the cooked filling, which took about 40 minutes to make and over an hour to cool. Meanwhile, I made the crust so that it could chill in the fridge for about an hour (see how a pie becomes so time consuming?) This particular crust recipe called specifially for hydrogenated vegetable shortening or lard. Marc couldn’t bring himself to buy lard so veggie shortening it was. Actually, this version offered some good advice vis-a-vis the shortening: freeze before adding to the dough. This is perfect because it is too fatty to freeze entirely and then when added to the dough, kept everything nice and cool. I have a feeling that this piece of advice is the lynch pin of pie crust.

The finished pie (pictured here next to our wee oven and the water heater that glamourously resides next to it) looked marvelous, if I do say so myself.

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I finally figured out that to roll out pie crust dough, one must roll in alternating clockwise and counter-clockwise directions, rather than in straight lines radiating from the centre. Mind you, I had to use a Nalgene™ bottle to accomplish this but I’m pretty pleased with myself.

Sam, guarding the pie.

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The final result of all the cherry pitting (35 min), filling cooking and cooling (1 hour, 40 min) , crust making and chilling (1 hour, 15 min), baking (50 min) and cooling (2 hours!) was absolutely worth it. I have made one fantastic pie and am tempted to make another with the rest of the cherries, if they last that long. (This picture makes it look as though the fork has just murdered the slice.)

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One Response to “The One With The Pie”

  1. Mom Says:

    Iee-chee-wawa …. my watering mouth; hope Sam got a bite.

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