Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cherry pie, babies. Cherry pie.

If you were smart last summer, you froze some cherries. If you were smart all winter, you have eaten most of what’s in your freezer.

I apparently think that if I hoard frozen cherries, I am somehow wealthy beyond imagination. Now it’s spring and I am yelling at myself. “Wise up, kitten. It’s going to be July again before you know it. You will feel like a real dope with a freezer full of last summer’s fruit.”

Time to bake a bunch of pie before everyone finds out what a blockhead I’ve been.

Cherry Pie
To freeze fruit for use in pie, scatter it in one layer on a cookie sheet and freeze solid. Then pack the individual frozen fruit pieces in a freezer-proof bag or container for long-term storage.

The crust
2 ½ c flour
1 t sugar
1 t salt
1 c shortening
5 T ice water

The filling
5 c frozen sour cherries
1 ¼ c sugar
¼ c cornstarch
2 T butter, cut in 6 to 8 pieces

For the crust, mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the fat. Sprinkle with the water and stir with a fork. Make a ball, divide the dough in half, and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.

Set the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 400°. Get three pieces of tin foil about 2” wide and join them, end to end, to make one long strip.
Roll out bottom crust and fit into pie pan. Roll out top crust.

Now move fast:

Knock any ice off the cherries. Toss them with the sugar and cornstarch. Put them in the pie pan and pour any remaining dry ingredients evenly over the fruit.

Space the butter pieces evenly over the fruit. Lay the top crust over the pie, trim the overhang to 1 or 2 inches, and crimp the pie shut.

Put on some decorative pie crust cutouts or other hoo-ha if you like. Cut steam vents in the top crust. Wrap the strip of foil around the pie like a collar, bending it in half over the crimped edge. This will keep the pie edge from charring to a crisp.

Bake for 50 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350° and bake until juices are bubbling out of the steam vents, another half hour or so. You can put a cookie sheet under the pie to keep pie juice from blarping all over your oven. You can also take off the little collar at this juncture.

Cool completely to give the pie a chance to congeal. Or cut it warm and suffer the runny, yummy consequences.