Thursday, October 21, 2010
Dear Farmers Market Pie Lady...
It all started so innocently. My husband and I were enjoying our Saturday morning tooling around the Farmers Market when we spotted the Pie Lady. We walked over and asked if she had any cherry pies for sale. From the way she reacted you'd have thought I asked her to sell me a newborn baby to grill for fajitas. She even made sure to raise her voice ten octaves so that everyone around could hear her when she said NO she didn't have any cherry pies to sell me because cherries were no longer in season, dumb ass. Okay maybe the dumb ass wasn't spoken but it was there. Believe me - it was there.
I mean I'm all for seasonal cooking (hello I was at the FARMERS MARKET) but do we really need our vendors to act like holier than thou food police? The pie lady incident stayed with me for days finally prompting me to make my own out of season, living on the edge cherry pie.
It was my first attempt at a cherry pie and I have to admit that fruit pies intimidate the hell out of me (remember last year's pretty but boring apple pie?) And I'm going to get the ugly truth off my chest right now and confess to using a store bought pie crust. I mean I was already baking a cherry pie out of cherry season so I figured what the hell? If you're going to get a speeding ticket, you might as well put the pedal to the medal, man!
And you know what, even with all those cardinal baking sins being broken in two around my kitchen, it turned out to be a pretty damn good pie. The kind of pie that people with a sweet tooth can get behind (husband) as well as those without (me - though I will caveat that this pie is probably not for kids as it does smack your taste your taste buds around a little...in a good way.)
The sour (jarred - oh the horror!) cherries and bite from the lemon and liquor give your palate something to think about while being inundated with all that lovely fruity sweetness. I will also caveat that this is a homemade cherry pie and therefore the filling tends to run a little after sliced though you could attempt to thicken it by adding more cornstarch if you're so inclined. I look at this runny lovely mess as liquid gold to add to the vanilla ice cream I serve on top of each slice.
Pie lady beware - if you're not careful I might set up a booth right next to yours selling my out of season pies and drive your surly ass right out of business.
Wicked Cherry Pie
1 (24 oz) jar sour cherries in light syrup
1 grapefruit sized Pink Lady or Gala Apple (or 2 medium) peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple, cherry, cranberry or other fruit juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest of a small lemon
8 oz dried tart or sour cherries
1/3 cup Calvados (apple brandy) or Cherry Brandy
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
2 store bought pie crusts
Non stick cooking spray
1 egg beat/whipped with a tablespoon of heavy cream or milk
Sanding sugar, for decoration
Using a large sieve, strain the cherry juice from the jar directly into a medium large sauce pot. Add in the chopped apples and bring to a boil. Let boil for two minutes then add in the cornstarch/juice mixture stirring well. Let boil for 3-4 minutes stirring every so often. Add in the dried cherries, calvados, lemon juice and zest, and cloves and lower the heat to let simmer for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in the salt and sugar and let simmer another two minutes. Kill the heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the extracts and set aside to cool further.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400. Take one of the pie crusts (remember to let sit out for a few minutes first or they may tear) and gently press it into the bottom of a deep dish pie plate. Make sure the crust goes all the way up to the edges and brush the edges lightly with a pastry brush dipped in water. Add the cooled pie filling gently distributing the fruit evenly with a spoon.
Dot the filling with butter then place the second crust over the top gently pressing the edges down to 'seal' the seams where you wet the edges. Carefully cut slits (any shape you like) into the pie to let steam escape.
Place the pie plate on an aluminum lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the top and edges of the pie with egg wash. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and put back in the oven for 20 minutes. Add strips of aluminum foil around the edges of the pie (or an aluminum pie edge if you have one) and put back in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the pie filling juices begin to bubble when they erupt through the slits.
Remove and transfer the pie to a wire rack. Let cool/set for at least 8 hours before serving.