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Thursday
Jul212011

« Classic Sour Cherry Pie »

I had no intention of baking a sour cherry pie 2 weeks ago.  Really, truly.  But then, I went to the greenmarket and saw a bucket of sour cherries, and what could I do?  Walk away from a bucket of sour cherries? That would be madness.  And besides, I was hosting a meeting on Monday night, so why not bake a pie in the 90 degree heat?

To make a 9 inch pie sour cherry pie, you need approximately 2 1/4 pounds of cherries. If you are using frozen cherries, this is equivalent to 6-8 cups of fruit. Before removing the pits, wash and dry the cherries and remove the stems.

Pitting the fruit might seem a chore, but it actually goes quite fast.  Unlike their sweet cousins, sour cherries have very soft flesh and the pits come out very easily.  Some people use a bent paper clip to remove the pit.  I use a cherry pitter.

I made a standard filling, which included the pitted cherries, sugar and a small amount of tapioca as a thickener. After adding the sugar and tapioca to the fruit, it is important to let the filling stand for approximately 10 minutes so that the sugar dissolves and the fruit releases its' juice. 

For the pie crust, I used Cook's Illustrated "Fool Proof Pie Crust". This recipe has gotten rave reviews across the blogoshere, but I have never tried it.  The secret?  Adding vodka to the crust. According to the good folks at Cook's Illustrated, this recipe works......

since water bonds with flour to form gluten, too much water makes a crust tough. But rolling out dry dough is difficult. For a pie dough recipe that baked up tender and flaky and rolled out easily every time, we found a magic ingredient: vodka. Using vodka, which is just 60 percent water, gave us an easy-to-roll crust recipe with less gluten and no alcohol flavor, since the alcohol vaporizes in the oven. 

The dough is a bit on the moist side, but it is very easy to roll out. It is also very very easy to patch. (Notice the patch job on the top of my crust above.) 

I realize that a lattice top would have been more traditional, but practicality trumped tradition on Sunday afternoon. So after placing a few pats of butter on the filling, I put on the top crust on, crimped it and put it into the oven. 

I was very pleased with how the pie came out.  The cherry filling was delicious, and the crust was buttery and flacky. But the absolute best part? There were leftovers. 

 The printable recipe is here.

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