Sunday, July 31, 2016
I have always made apple pie, but other fruit pies seldom appealed, perhaps because I have eaten one too many that is gloopy, starchy and oversweet.
I love fruit, though, and have now discovered - perhaps addictively - the unctuous, deeply compelling flavour of warm cherries. And this is really only cherries, with some sugar. There is no thickening, and no overcooking. I think the result is simple, and fresh.
Cherry pie filling
2 1/2 pounds of sweet, firm black cherries
1/3 cup of brown sugar
Rinse and de-stem the cherries, and pit. Add them to a saucepan with the sugar and heat very slowly, covered. As juice starts to be released from the cherries, increase the heat. Simmer until the cherries are just cooked - about 8 minutes. Pour off and keep the juice. When it is cool, bottle and refrigerate it for using in drinks, and pouring over ice cream. Let the cherries cool a little.
Make the pastry.
I stick to my favourite pastry recipe, known as "Molly Bolt's" in my house. It has homely feel that feels right for all pie.
175 gr/6 oz butter
75 gr/2.5 oz sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
300 grams/ 10.5 oz flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the egg. Beat again, adding a little flour if it separates. Gradually beat in the flour, baking powder and salt. shape into two balls, one larger than the other (1/3 and 2/3 of the pastry, respectively). Flatten each ball. The pastry does not need to chill.
Roll the larger ball out thinly into a circle that will cover the bottom and sides* of a buttered, spring form cake tin (wrap the pastry around your rolling pin for the transfer from board to cake tin). Patch any breaks or tears with extra pastry - it's a forgiving recipe.
Fill with the cooled cherry filling.
* If this seems like way too much work skip the step of lining a tin with pastry and simply put the cherry filling into a pie dish and proceed as below.
Roll and cut out a pastry disk to cover the top*, crimping the edges in the way you know best. Make a few slits for steam, and bake in a 350'F/180'C oven till the pastry is pale golden and crisp. Baking time varies, but it is in the realm of 30-35-40 minutes.