Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fresh Cherry Pie

Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!


I'm going to start off with a confession...this is the first time I've ever made cherry pie from scratch!!!   I know!!!  But, I didn't have a cherry pitter...haha, bad excuse. 

My friend, Linda, gave me a beautiful bag of cherries and since I'm the only one who eats them, I just didn't want them to go bad.  So, while Dave and I were shopping yesterday, guess what I decided to buy...yes, a cherry/olive pitter.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea this could be so easy to do, and is worth the extra effort of using fresh cherries.

Since I never made a pie with cherries,  I went straight to my trusty old Betty Crocker cookbook and, of course there it was, the recipe for fresh cherry pie.  Now, I love Betty, but her pie looked a pit plain.  There were no signs of the spices I like to add to my fruit pies, so I've changed up her recipe and made it my own with flavors my family enjoys.  

Yes, I played with my food, and I encourage you to do the same!

Ingredients:

9" pie crust (enough for a top and bottom) homemade or store bought
   *Try my Mom's Flaky Pasty below, so tender and good! 
4 cups fresh, pitted cherries
1/4- 1/2 cup water (or cherry juice) I didn't have cherry juice, so the water worked fine
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter

Heat oven to 425'F.

Place cherries in large saucepan and place over heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add the extracts and spices, if desired, and mix.  Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more flour.
Let cool while you prepare the crust.

Line a 9" pie plate with crust.  Turn cooled cherry mixture evenly onto the bottom crust, and dot with butter.  Cover with top crust and make slits for the steam to escape (or make a lattice top); seal the edges and flute. 

Optional for topping:  Brush top with milk, half and half or cream and sprinkle sugar for a pretty, glistening top.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until top starts to brown.  If the top and edges are getting too brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent burning.  Lower oven to 375' F. and bake another 45-60 minutes until top is golden brown and juices start to flow through the slits.  

Remove from oven and let cool completely.  In fact, it's best to wait at least 6 hours before cutting into it, so the juices will thicken more.


Mom's Flaky Pastry:
2 c. flour
1 c. shortening
1 tsp. salt
3-4 Tbsp. cold water

Combine flour, shortening and salt; cut with a pastry cutter or fork until it looks like coarse meal.  Then add water (start with 3 Tbsp.) then if it's still dry add more, 1 Tbsp. at a time.  Divide in half, this makes 2, 9" bottom crusts, or a top & bottom.  Roll out on floured surface, using enough flour so the dough won't stick.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  -Matthew 5:4

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