As I sit here in my office, typing away with our white Siamese purring on my lap, I can only say, hmmmm, 42 more pies to go. When I baked the 1st pie at Thanksgiving, 52 didn’t seem like such a big deal. Now, at the end of January and on my 10th pie, I see this is going to be a test of discipline.
My wife selected this weeks pie, Cherry Crumble. Summer in January would be like Cherry Pie:) Even the cherries are frozen…
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp. chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp. (or more) ice water
1 large egg yolk
Blend the flour, sugar and salt in a processor for about 5 seconds. Add the butter and shortening, using on/off turns, cut into mixture until it resembles a course meal. Beat in 2 tablespoons water and the yolk in a small bowl to blend, and add to processor. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk. Wrap in cellophane and chill at least 30 minutes.
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Blend the oats, flour, sugar, almonds cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips pressing mixture together until moist clumps form. Chill at least 30 minutes.
And now for the filling…
6 cups of fresh cherries or (in my case) 2 pounds pitted, frozen sweet cherries, thawed with juices preserved
1 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
1 tbsp. Kirsch (clear cherry brandy) or regular brandy (I used regular brandy, which was what I had on hand)
Pinch of salt
Mix the cherries with any juices, sugar tapioca, brandy and salt in a large bowl. Let stand until tapioca looks translucent, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 13-14 inches around. Transfer to 9 inch diameter deep-dish glass pie dish. Trim the dough over hang to 3/4 inch. Fold the edge under and crimp decoratively. I had a real problem with the dough. I need to stop using a cutting board and roll it on the counter. I did a lot of paste-up on this one. I could also use some suggestions on decoratively crimping. All I know how to do is use a fork…
Spoon in the filling. Sprinkle with topping. Be careful not to try to break up the topping over open drawers. When it breaks, it flies.
Bake pie for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Continue to bake until filling is bubbling thickly and topping is brown and crisp. Cover the edges with a foil collar if browning too quickly, about 25 minutes longer. Cool pie on rack at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Vanilla ice cream is optional.
And finally, it is wise to check the oven periodically as opposed to relying on a timer. The crumble on this pie got a bit crispy. Ahhh, attention to detail.
Re: rolling out dough. Try a pastry cloth. It’s 100% counter-intuitive, but it’s the most charming solution ever. Simply grab a clean cotton dish towel (must be plain woven, not fancy waffle-weave, not terry cloth). Lay it on the counter, smooth out any wrinkles and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the surface. Use the flat of your hand to brush the flour into the weave of the cloth.
Then place your disk of dough in the middle and roll out as you usually would, flipping and turning 90° as you go. You will be amazed at how much more compliant the dough is. It’s both quicker and tidier, and when you’re done all you have to do is pick up the dish towel for the laundry.
When you visit CA next, call me and we’ll bake. I’ll teach you how to make a woven lattice, 2 types of edgework, and a pastry glaze.