Recently, I found myself in the possession of a flat of cherries. Half sweet and half sour, I spent several days binging on cherries and finding various ways to put them up. I made jam with some of the sours, turned others into that no-cook sour cherry syrup and finally stashed four pitted cups in the freezer for another day.
I intended for that other day to be July 4th, but like so often in my life, I’m a day late (though hopefully not a dollar short). Scott and I had a couple friends over yesterday to swim in the pool on our roof and then dig into an indoor cookout. We had burgers, hot dogs, chicken sausage, potato salad, coleslaw, and grilled zucchini. It was quite a feast and in the activity of getting the rest of the meal made, I didn’t manage to make the pie (I also make five pints of dilly beans and nearly six pints of salsa yesterday, so it wasn’t as if I was lazing).
But wanting to post a contribution to Shauna’s Pie Party, the first thing I did when I got home from work today was pull out my previously prepared pie crust to soften (I got so far as making the crust yesterday) and mix my defrosted cherries with a bit of sugar and flour.
One of the challenges that comes with making pie in my household is that my husband isn’t into fruit and so won’t help eat a pie (not even one as delicious as sour cherry). I am not capable of eating enough of any single pie in a timely fashion to make it worth making. So I determined to make small pies that could be frozen. I pondered forming them into jars like so many clever folk have done, but it’s canning season and I can’t spare the jars.
Instead, I used the large, six-cup muffin tin that Scott brought this to our marriage (it’s not a piece of equipment I would have bought on my own, but I find I use it all the time) and formed the pies into its wells. I tried to be creative in the ways I slit the top pastry, but by the time I was forming those lids, I’d overworked the dough and the gluten was making things too elastic to cut easily. I traded creativity for expediency and just cut slits.
They baked for approximately 40 minutes at 375 degrees. They bubbled beautifully and tasted like pure heaven (oh sour cherries, how did I survive my first 27 years without you?). A rough recipe is after the jump.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 4 cups sour cherries, pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- Combine the flours, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter cubes to the bowl and pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flours and largest bits look to be the size of peas.
- Then, with the motor running, slowly stream the water into the bowl using the tube. Stop once you’ve added 1/4 cup of water and test the dough by squeezing it. If it sticks together, it’s done. You want it to just barely hold together.
- Divide the dough in two and wrap it in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using. Overnight is fine too. The dough can also be frozen for up to a month.
- If you don’t have a food processor, pie dough is still within your grasp. Combine the flours, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Grate very cold butter using a box grater. When it’s all grated, combine with the flours in the bowl and work together using a pastry blender or your hands. Add water drop by drop until the dough comes together. Divide and store as recommended above.
- Pit sour cherries and let sit for half an hour (I find that freezing and then defrosting the cherries is a really effective way to remove some of the excess liquid). Drain any liquid off. Add sugar and flour to cherries and stir. Set aside.
- Roll out the pie crust and cut six rounds to fit your muffin tin or custard cups. Gently fit the rounds into the muffin wells. Evenly divide the cherry pie filling between the six cups. Top each small pie with 1/2 tablespoon butter.
- Cut six smaller rounds of pie crust to use as lids. Cut vents to allow for steam (or use your creativity to devise something more aesthetically appealing). Brush pastry lids with egg wash on both sides. Fit onto pie bottoms and crimp to seal.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until tops are browned and the pie juices run thick and glossy.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from tins. Eat immediately or freeze on a cookie sheet.