Last summer I decided to figure out pies.
And I was doing a pretty good job I thought. Mom came to visit. Perfect opportunity to show off and make a cherry pie, even though I’d never made one before.
Tasted fine, but I broke the cardinal rule of pie making.
The pie was a soupy mess. As soon as I’d remove a piece, juice from nowhere would rush in to fill the space. Tasty cherry juice, but still.
So what’s the cardinal rule of pie making?
The key to fruit pies is DON’T TOUCH IT. When that bad boy comes out of the oven, carefully place it on a cooling rack.
Then walk away.
Leave it alone for 3 hours or more.
We’ll cover this in detail another post, but most fruit pies have a thickener mixed with the fruit. In this case, I chose corn starch. It needs time to gel and suck up all those water molecules. Any fruit pie you want to make must follow that rule.
So seriously: don’t touch it. Clear?
Some further notes for cherry pies: take 1/3 to 1/2 the cherries and cut them up a bit. This will let the juice in the cherries to come out during cooking so that the corn starch has something to bind to.
Taste a couple cherries. You should vary your sugar from the tartness of the fruit and to your taste. But really taste them. Close your eyes, focus on what you’re eating.
- Perfect Pie Dough with 9 oz Flour, 6 oz butter, 3 oz water
- 4 cups sweet cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 – 3 tbsp corn starch
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- 1 egg
In a food processor, make your pie dough. Split it in two unequal pieces, the smaller piece, about 1/3 of the total. Wrap both in plastic, let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Take a third to half of the cherries and roughly chop them. In a medium bowl, add all the cherries, sugar, cornstarch and allspice. Let them sit for at least 15 minutes.
Right before rolling out the dough, heat your oven to 425F. Prepare your egg wash: in a small bowl, crack the egg, add a splash of water, stir.
On a floured surface, roll out the large piece of dough. Place in your pie dish. Roll out the second piece and cut into strips for your lattice crust.
Pour the fruit mixture into the pie shell. Brush on egg wash around the edge of the shell. Place your strips about 3/4 inch apart horizontally.
Take every second strip and peel it back to the edge of the dish. Place a vertical strip. Take the odd strips and peel back to the edge of the first vertical strip. Place the next vertical strip. Repeat the pattern until you reach the other side of the pie.
Finally, brush the strips with the egg wash. Pinch the top of the pie to seal the strips to the shell.
Place in the oven on the bottom rack for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350F until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 – 35 minutes.
We’re not quite finished: put it on a cooling rack for at least two hours. Don’t touch it at all during this time; don’t taste the juice, don’t push it around. Just walk away. Two hours will do, three or more is better.
This will have a shelf life of about two days on the counter, if it lasts that long.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.