I was asked to bring a dessert, "something cherry", to a birthday party this coming weekend. Not just any birthday party... my Mother-in-Law's birthday party. Yes, this pie has to be perfect, so it required making one in advance to make sure it would be.
I have to admit cherry is not exactly my favorite thing, so I don't have any tried and true recipes under my belt.
In my opinion, the crust on a pie is equally important as the filling itself. An icky crust makes for an icky pie. I use a standard pie crust recipe which is simply flour, cold butter, ice water, salt and sugar.
Try and handle the butter as little as possible to keep it cold. I like to cut up the butter first, then throw it in the freezer until I am ready to use it, about 5 minutes or so.
Once you mix in the butter, add the water. Depending on the humidity in your home, you will need anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. Add the water while your food processor is still going. Stop it before the mixture forms a ball, but not until the mixutre holds itself together. It should not be crumb-y (is that a word?), but easily lifted out of the food processor.
Flatten dough into two discs, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
The grocery stores in my area do not have fresh cherries yet, so I had to buy the frozen ones. Let them thaw for about 30 minutes, discarding any extra juice. Bring the cherries, sugar and cornstarch to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. The mixture should firm up nicely. Then stir in a tablespoon of butter along with the almond extract.
Meanwhile, roll out the first disc of dough and fit into your pie plate. I chose to make a lattice top on this pie, so I used a pastry wheel to cut decorative strips out of the second crust.
Isn't this pretty?
I made an egg wash with an egg white and a teaspoon of water and spread it over the crust. Then I sprinked two teaspoons of sugar on top.
I've made dozens of pies and tried dozens of 'treatments' on the crust. I've decided that egg white wash with sugar turns out the prettiest.
for the recipe