Cherry pie

Cherry pie

By
From
A Lot on Her Plate
Serves
8
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

No one does fruit pies quite like our cousins across the pond. When we were living in North America, I ate more than my fair share of pie. I couldn’t pass a bakery or coffee shop without being lured in by golden sugared crusts spilling with deep, bubbling, sweet fruit fillings. In Vancouver there was a wonderful little place called the Olde Pie Shoppe, which just served freshly baked, seasonal fruit pies and very good pour-over coffee – a genius idea. This is my version of the ubiquitous cherry pie. I use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to make holes in the top crust, and it always goes down a storm. Eat it with a mug of ‘joe’, like they do in Twin Peaks.

Pastry

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
260g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
40g ground almonds
pinch salt
180g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Filling

Quantity Ingredient
100g good-quality black cherry jam
1 tablespoon cherry brandy, kirsch or amaretto, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornflour, mixed to a paste with 2 teaspoons cold water
500g fresh black or red cherries, pitted and halved

Special equipment

Quantity Ingredient
1 24 cm pie dish
pastry brush

Method

  1. For the pastry, put the sugar, flour, ground almonds, salt and butter in a food processor, and blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor still running, add about 3 tablespoons of the beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water, and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together into a dough. You need to be cautious at this stage as you don’t want sticky pastry. Add a little more water if necessary.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor, divide into two, flatten each portion into discs, wrap each disc in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease the pie dish. Remove a disc of pastry from the fridge, unwrap it and roll it out on a generously floured work surface to 3 mm thick and about 2½ cm wider than the pie dish. Transfer to a floured baking sheet and chill for about 10 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining disc of pastry.
  4. Heat the jam for the filling in a saucepan with 100 ml water, the alcohol (if using), nutmeg and the vanilla extract. When it’s all melted together, add the diluted cornflour, and stir together until smooth and thickened. Add the cherries and gently coat them in the mixture, being careful not to mush them up, so you preserve their shape. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Using a floured rolling pin, carefully transfer one of the chilled pastry sheets to the greased pie dish and drape it across the dish. Let it sink into the dish, and, holding on to the edges, lift and tuck the pastry into the edges of the dish, all the way round, to line it. Trim off any excess pastry, and lightly prick the base with a fork. Fill the dish with the cherry filling. Use a pastry cutter to cut holes in the remaining pastry sheet, covering an area just smaller than the diameter of the pie dish, leaving a large border intact. Place it over the pie filling, and fold the edge of the top crust over the edge of the bottom crust, crimping it together with your fingers to seal.
  6. Brush the pastry with the remains of the beaten egg and sprinkle over the demerara sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden, and then reduce the oven temperature to 180°C, covering the top of the pastry with foil if you need to, to avoid it burning, and bake for a further 35–40 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden, firm and lightly puffed. Allow the pie to cool for about 1 hour before serving with cream.
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