I cannot believe that I have managed to live until now without having made or eaten Cherry Pie. Maybe it was too many cheesy teen American teen movies that made me associate something slightly artificial and clichéd with them? In any case, making my first cherry pie from fresh cherries bought at Parnell Farmers Market has been nothing short of a revelation. It was so good I made it several times back to back.
1/2 tsp salt (leave out, if you are using salted butter)
110g butter unsalted, cold (cut into cubes)
110g ghee or shortening, cold (cut into cubes)
a few table spoons of ice cold water
750g of cherries pitted
135g muscovado sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp lemon juice (half a lemon)
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
For the top crust
1 egg (for egg wash)
1 tbsp coarse sugar for sprinkling
Put a few ice cubes in a cup and cover in water.
Put all the ingredients (except the water) for the crust into the bowl of your standup mixer or a large bowl (if you are mixing by hand). Mix with the paddle attachment, or rub the fat into the flour using your hands. When you have achieved uniform crumbles that almost stick together add the ice cold water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together (I used only about 2 table spoons).
Wrap tightly and place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 3 hours.
2 hours before baking:
If you have a cherry pipper, use this to take the stones out of ¾ of the cherries. Cut the rest into halves and quarters while also taking out the stones. Most people don’t have cherry pippers, so you might have to cut all of the cherries.
Mix the cherries with the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. For some lovely almond flavour, you can leave the cherry pips in with the juice to macerate, but you will need to fish them out before you proceed to the next step.
30 min before baking: Heat the oven to 220C
Grease a 22-24cm round loose bottom cake tin or a fluted pie tin. Take the pastry out of the fridge, knead it until it becomes pliable and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Place your pie tin on top and cut generously around it, leaving so much extra that the pastry will also cover the sides of your tin. Gently pick up the pastry using either your rolling pin or a flat tart sheet to help lift it up. Place it over your tin. It’s ok, if there is a little excess pastry. Smooth the pastry into the tin and trim off any excess pastry.
Form a ball of the rest of the pastry and roll it out again. I had these cute cherry and leaf cookie cutters that I always wanted to try, so I did that, but you can do whatever you feel like here. Cut outs of shapes, lattice or just a full cover.
Set the cover aside.
Using a slotted spoon take the cherries out of the juice they have been macerating in and spoon them into the pie tin. Transfer the juices into a small sauce pan and heat up until the juice begins to thicken. Pour over the cherries.
Now cover the cherries with your lid pastry.
Brush the pastry with the egg you have beaten up with a tiny bit of water.
Sprinkle coarse sugar (or just normal sugar) over the top.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 15min at 220C.
After this time, turn the temperature down to 190C.
Check after another 15min that your bake is even. Maybe you need to give your pie a 180C turn?
Total bake time is 60min.
Let the pie cool completely, so the filling can set.
Best served with vanilla ice cream, soft runny custard, or whipped cream.