Thursday, July 23, 2009
Brandied Cherry Pie, or I finally found the cable for my camera!
Earlier this week, I made pie. It had a homemade crust, a homemade filling and tastes divine. I know know the origin of the phrase, "easy as pie."
For the crust, I used the Pate Brisee recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. This book is fantastic! I highly suggest you add this to your collection. If you already have it, let me know what recipes you've made! I picked this book up the other day for 50% off at Williams Sonoma. Score! As I sat down to read it, I wondered why I didn't already own it. It has a lot of excellent basic recipes with pictures. Ever want to make your own puff pastry? Martha shows you how! It's an amazingly comprehensive book.
As for the filling, I was just winging it. A homemade pie filling is deceptively simple. No magic or pixie dust required. You need to taste it a few times, but otherwise it's crazy easy. I bought a bag of nice, ripe dark cherries at Kroger. Once I pitted and halved them, I added them to a bowl. I poured on 1/8 of a cup (or 2 TBSP, or 1 oz.) of brandy and let soak overnight stirring well. I actually had on hand a small bottle of Mt. Gay Sugar Cane Brandy from a trip to Barbados a few years ago. It's quite lovely! I try to use it only for cooking and special occasions since I won't be able to get it again in the US. The next day, I added about a half of a cup of sugar to which I had mixed in 3 TBSP of sifted cornstarch. This was the first time I tried cornstarch in a pie filling rather than just flour. I think it worked much better. I sifted the cornstarch to get out the lumps. I added the filling to the bottom crust, covered it with the top crust, made my super cute star-shaped vents and baked. I baked it on 350 degrees just as long as it took for the crust to get a nice golden brown and the filling to be visibly bubbly. Voila! We have pie.
You can see here that no filling fell out or leaked all over when it was cut. Okay, a little is falling out here, but that's because I put it in a bowl first then realized a plate would be easier for photographing, but trust me, nothing fell out until it had been moved several times.
The cornstarch worked beautifully here! The brandy really adds a richness to the cherries. I am not going to post a formal recipe here because there are just too many variables. My cherries were pretty sweet on their own and didn't need too much sugar. Your might need considerably more or even none at all. Shoot for about 2 pounds of cherries here. Taste them. Add the sugar gradually. Start with a third of a cup mixed with the 3 TBSP of cornstarch. Taste again. Needs more sugar? Add a little more. Trust your tastebuds here. Once you put it in the oven, pay attention. Give it 40 minutes on 350 then peek. Is the crust golden? Can you see the filling bubbling? No? Then give it another 10 minutes. Repeat as necessary. This is not the time to sit down to a movie or call your mother. As long as you measure carefully and follow the rules, baking is not hard.
I even had enough crust left over to make a few pocket pies with some fresh raspberries I had on hand.
Here is my pie warmed up with french vanilla ice cream. Yum!