Sweet Cherry Pie
A classic lattice-topped sweet cherry pie that’s perfect for summer!
Summer is right around the corner and so are all of the wonderful summer berries that will soon be appearing in local farmers markets and grocery stores. From cherries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries-I love them all! While at the super market last week, I noticed cherries were on sale. I had been waiting on them to make their appearance just so I could try out this recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie.
I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to cherries. I love the taste of fresh cherries, but I absolutely hate pitting them! It’s so messy! There’s no way to get around it! I’ve even tried cherry pitters with a splatter shield, but inevitably I’m always covered in cherry juice, have red stained hands and random cherry pits everywhere by the time I’m finished.
I always have to remind myself when I’m covered in cherry juice that the result will be worth the mess. And it always seems like it is…especially for this sweet cherry pie.
The pie dough I used in this recipe is my absoulte favorite. It’s tender, flaky, perfection! The dough recipe uses vodka instead of water to achieve that tender and flaky deliciousness. The vodka imparts no flavor and is only used for the incredibly flaky texture, however, if you are concerned about using vodka (or don’t have any on hand) you can always use the basic pie dough recipe.
So if you’re like me and crave sweet summer fruit baked into a buttery, flaky pie dough, promise me you’ll make this recipe. It’s the perfect make-ahead treat for backyard barbecues and cookouts.
Sweet Cherry Pie
Yield: One 9-inch pie, serving 8
For the Pie Dough:
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
For the Cherry Filling:
2 red plums, halved and pitted
6 cups (about 2 pounds) pitted sweet cherries or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries, halved
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons bourbon
2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1. For The Pie Dough: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. Using a folding motion, use a rubber spatula to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on floured work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with 1 hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 40 minutes.
4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the plums and 1 cup halved cherries in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids. Stir remaining halved cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, bourbon, tapioca, and cinnamon into puree; let stand for 15 minutes.
5. Transfer cherry mixture, including all juices, to dough-lined plate. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Roll second disk of dough on generously floured work surface (up to ¼ cup) to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. With pastry wheel, cut the dough into 12 strips 3/4 inch wide. Place 6 strips horizontally across the top of the pie at 1 inch intervals. Weave in 6 vertical strips. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges with egg mixture. Freeze pie 20 minutes.
6. Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble around the edges and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
7. Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to room temperature so juices have time to thicken, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute extra water. The alcohol is key to our recipe; if you don't have vodka on hand, you can use another 80 proof liquor.
The tapioca should be measured first, then ground in a coffee grinder or food processor for 30 seconds.
If you are using frozen fruit, measure it frozen, but let it thaw before making the filling; if you don’t, you run the risk of partially cooked fruit and undissolved tapioca.
Source: Cook's Illustrated, July 2010
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