Friday, June 30, 2006
Thanks to Moon, Stars, and Paper for showing me an easy way to pit a cherry for without a trip to Williams-Sonoma. I never would have thought to use a paper clip, but it worked like a charm!
I have been gorging myself on bing cherries for the past three weeks or so, and at the cheap price of $1.89 per pound, why not? So facing an excess of cherries and a growing disdain for them, I decided to mix it up with a cherry pie I made a butter-rich pie dough from the Joy of Cooking and lined four tartlett shells.
(I couldn't help but think of Frenchy as I made these tartletts. Last year we produced a fresh new tart every day, and he taught me a technique for a slightly higher edge around the tart to contain the filling. I also thought of him while seeding the cherries- he would have used every one, despite any sign of spoilage. He was a master of the craft of pastry, but it sickens me when I think of how he would scrape mold off a product and then serve it.)
The cherries were mixed with cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice and spooned into the prepared shells. They came out hot and steamy, crisp and buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pass-me-another-piece good.
I had a lot of pie dough leftover, so I think apricot is next. A quick word on pie dough- It's really not hard to make a tender flaky pie dough. It is hard, however, to describe in words how the dough should look and feel. The keys are- don't overmix, and don't add too much water. At first it will seem to be falling apart. Press it once or twice and it should come together. Working a pie dough is more like pressing it together rather than kneading it. Good Luck!
For the dough:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks butter (cold)
1/4 cup shortening (cold)
About 1/3 cup cold water
1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt with a fork in a medium sized bowl.
2. Cut the butter into small pieces and toss into the flour. Using the tips of your fingers, squeeze the butter into the flour, breaking up the butter into pea sized pieces. Add the shortening and delicately break it up with your fingers into pea-sized amounts. Gently rub the flour between your hands, picking out any large bits of butter and squashing them. The flour will take on a lovely almond colour.
3. Add half the water and mix it in with a fork. Add the rest of the water a tb at a time, stirring gently with a fork.
4. Stick your hands into the bowl and press the mess together until it forms a ball. It will be crumbly and that's ok. If it won't come together, then add a tb more of water. Remember that this stage is where a lot of people mess it up. Don't use too much water!
5. Refridgerate the dough for at least 1 hour before attempting to roll it out. Lightly dust your pans and work surface with flour and roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch. Fold in half and place overtop of the pan. Gently lift the edges with your left hand and press the dough into the crevices with your right index finger. (If you want a raised edge, pinch the dough at the edge of the pan about 1/2 inch higher than the pan.) Trim off excess.
6. There is enough dough for 1 closed pie, 2 open-faced pies, or 8 tartletts.
For the filling
5 cups bing cherries, pitted
3/4 cup sugar
2 tb cornstarch
1 tb lemon juice
2 tb water
1. Mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Spoon filling into prepared pans.
Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 for an additional 30 minutes. Pay attention to the pies, as ovens vary, and some pies will cook faster than others due to the oven and the thickness of the dough.
Recipe adapted from The JOy Of Cooking
(Best cookbook ever!!!)