I love to make pies. When I thought about it, I was stunned that I hadn't done any pie baking on this blog. Cookie decorating is something I started a couple of months ago, and I guess I have been a little fixated on that. In case you have never tried it, let me just say that decorating cookies is quite a bit easier said than done. But pie making is something that anyone of any skill level can do.
Next to my grandmother, The Barefoot Contessa is my pie mentor. Ina uses the word "rustic" to describe the look of a pie that is imperfect, bubbled over, and easily distinguished as homemade. And THAT is a large part of the charm. They aren't something thrown together in a matter of minutes - they are crafted with time and love (so a little imperfection is OK). Whenever someone needs a little boost of caring, I make them a pie.
Ina makes rustic charm legit, and I for one, appreciate it!
Now lets get to the pie baking itself. The first order of business with a cherry pie is pitting the fresh cherries. I realize that this is a colossal pain in the neck, but worth it. There is no comparing a pie made with fresh cherries and one made with the goo in a can. My fingers will be stained for at least one more day.
Add some flour and sugar and a little almond extract to the cherries. If the cherries are sour, add more sugar. Really juicy, add more flour - I don't measure. Now for the pastry. The following is my family recipe
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shortening
7 tbsp cold water
Pulse together in a food processor till it comes together in a ball. Form into a flat disk, cover with cling wrap and chill. The key here is ice cold water and cold shortening. I put ice cubes in my water and let them melt. Another thing I do is to roll out the dough on a well floured wooden board.
Pie making is one of my earliest memories. My grandmother (pie baker extraordinaire) always saved me the hunk of leftover dough so I could practice rolling the pastry out. She would then have me put my little rolled out dough on a pie plate, prick the bottom with a fork, and sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon. Perfect with a cup of afternoon tea.
I still use her rolling pin, and I still make my little cinnamon and sugar pie with the left over dough. She is still with me in the kitchen for every pie I bake.
For these tiny pies, I cut out circles to fit in a muffin tin. I spray the muffin tins with non-stick spray so they will easily come out in one piece. Just spoon in the cherry filling and top with another circle of dough or making the lattice pieces. Don't do the lattice unless you have some extra time on your hands :)
Because the 4th of July is upon us, I stuck flags and stars into the finished product.
Two warm cherry pies + two scoops of vanilla ice cream =
Two very happy girls!
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