Sour Cherry Pie

I’ve mentioned my Thursday potluck lunch with co-workers, before. It’s pretty much the best part of the week, even though I work with pretty great people all week long. The group has 8 members, currently… carefully hand-picked for reliability, sense of humour, and general awesomeness:

  • 2 members of one of my scrum teams – one of whom was a founding member of the group, and was at the Focaccia campfire
  • 1 member of another one of my scrum teams – another of the founding members
  • 1 of my former teammates, from when I was on what can safely be described as the best team ever
  • 1 of the technical writers that I regularly work with (and whose wedding I attended last fall)
  • 1 of our scrum masters, who, yesterday, was wearing a shirt that read “Don’t read the next sentence. Oh, you little rebel. I like you.”  Today, it was a loading symbol with “Sarcastic comment loading. Please wait.” Matt‘s all kinds of awesome.
  • Me – a former developer, turned product owner/product manager. I think I managed to keep my place in the group after turning to the “dark side,” solely on my baking merits.
  • Oh, and a VP. VP ALM Solutions or something like that. I have no idea who invited him to the group.

Over the years, the members of the group have changed here and there, like when someone turns out to not be good at volunteering to contribute, or annoyingly regularly fails to notify the group when they won’t be there. Generally, the meals are pretty awesome. We have occasionally had to order pizza, though… like the time that one member of the group thought he could bring in a raw 10 lb roast in the morning, and have it cooked by lunch, in a slow cooker. Dude didn’t cook. AT ALL. Take out, all day, every day. He changed jobs a while back, saving us from kicking him out of the group. 😉

This week, Doug made chicken tortilla soup for us, and it was really tasty. I’m putting that recipe (or Jay’s improvisation of it, because he never follows recipes), on my request list for home. For dessert, I figured I’d make the cherry pie a few days early, and bring it to share, so that I’d have this ready to post for pi day.

David takes better pictures than me
David takes better pictures than me

First, I made the pie crust on Tuesday evening. I figure now is a good enough time as any to post a review of my new Breville Sous Chef food processor, since I always use the food processor to make pie crust, since learning Rose’s recipe & technique.

Look at all the PARTS!
Look at all the PARTS!

So, from the front left, there’s the main bowl, with the large blade in it. Behind that is the small bowl, which is great for small quantities of stuff, like processing sugar until fine. To the right of that, seen through the clear plastic lid of the accessory case, is the lid. The lid has a large chute and a smaller chute. Both the large & small have little bumps on the bottom, presumably to hold food in place for shredding or slicing. The accessories… well, it comes with a large & small grater blade, a large julienne blade, a small julienne blade, and a slicer (which can do varying thicknesses). Then, there’s a dough blade, a small blade for use in the small bowl, AND… I haven’t tried this out yet… A plastic whisk disc!? Weird! I’ll let you know when I try that. :/

To make pastry, you first mix flour, a tiny bit of baking powder, and salt together. Then add cream cheese (and in my case about 15 g of sour cream, because I ran out of cream cheese). Process “about 20 seconds.” Oh, look, the new food processor tells me how long it’s been running! It can even count up or down – if you set it for 20 seconds, it will count down, then shut off. Otherwise, you hit start, and it counts up until you hit stop.

Processing in the cream cheese
Processing in the cream cheese

Then, you add frozen butter cubes, and pulse until “about the size of a pea.” I think I mentioned this before, but I love that the new processor’s pulse is actually just an on/off thing. The old one (KitchenAid) had a slow start “feature” that meant that any pulse cycle shorter than about 3 seconds wasn’t really doing anything.

Mise en Place
Mise en Place

After the butter, add heavy cream, and apple cider vinegar.  You end up with a mixture that looks like this, and if you haven’t made it before, you probably think you did something horribly wrong:

Pie Dough?
Pie Dough?

Another thing I love about this processor. The bowl doesn’t have a hole in the middle. You can pop out the blade, and then just go hog wild on using the bowl for further mixing, or scraping the contents out, or whatever, and you don’t have to worry about the contents going down the hole in the middle. Anyway, continuing with the pastry – pour it into a gallon sized freezer bag (or two, depending on the quantity), then use your knuckles to knead it. No really, you’re going to knead the pastry dough. Check out this video of Rose’s technique.

Messy, but it'll be fine.
Messy, but it’ll be fine.

Mine went into the fridge on Tuesday night, so I could put together the pie on Wednesday.

See? It's just fine!
See? It’s just fine!

Rose suggests trimming your pie dough to a circle, prior to putting it into the pan, so I figured I’d try it this time. I used a 12″ cake pan as a template. Whaddya know, it works! Slide that into the pan, and stick it in the fridge while you cook the filling & roll out the pastry for the top.

11"x12" oval?
11″x12″ oval?

Next, get out your arts and crafts supplies (actually, I keep the clear plastic ruler in my cake stuff drawerone of my cake stuff drawers), to cut the strips for the lattice.

Cutting 3/4" lattice strips
Cutting 3/4″ lattice strips

Apparently, I totally missed taking pictures of the process of cooking the filling, but it’s basically sugar, cornstarch, salt, cherries, and a little bit of almond extract, which Jeff tells me is what makes all the difference. I managed to find canned sour cherries in light syrup at the local euro food store. I pulled one of the cherries out of the filling to taste it, and bit down on something hard. Apparently, my pitted cherries weren’t! I made sure my hands were clean, then did my best to find all of the rest of the pits. I had to warn my friends to be careful – fortunately, I seem to have only missed one, but the cherry canning facility missed a dozen!

Pour the cherries into the prepared crust...
Pour the cherries into the prepared crust…

The next step is the lattice. I love the step-by-step pictures in the book, though you would think that someone who weaves as a hobby would have been able to figure this bit out on my own. I probably would have tried to slide them in from the end, not thinking about folding over, like this, though.

Weaving!
Weaving a lattice!

The finished pie was definitely a hit.

Photo credit: David!
Photo credit: David!

I told the group in advance that I’d be bringing cherry pie. David had a bite and said something to the effect of “What is this?” “Cherry pie.” “I thought you must have brought something else, because I don’t like cherry pie, and this is really good.” He also posted on Facebook: “Kristina is magic and the creator of all things tasty and delightful.” As I mentioned previously, Doug gets a pie delivered every month by his local chapter of the Women’s Institute. He said today that he normally gives away the cherry pies immediately, because he doesn’t like them. He didn’t refuse a piece of this one. Jeff said, very quietly, that it might be better than his mom’s.

PS: I’m a rebel. We’re supposed to post on Mondays (sometimes we get away with Sunday), but I couldn’t resist writing this up on Thursday, and scheduling it to post at a specific time on Saturday morning, even though Saturday is actually 14/3/15, if you write dates correctly, so I have no idea where this pi day business comes from. It should be April 31, but since that doesn’t work, I’ll concede to the Americans.

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10 thoughts on “Sour Cherry Pie

  1. the video! i’ve been wanting to see that for forever, thank you!

    maybe we should have a pi day for the rest of the world on april 31.

    only a weaver would think about sliding the strips in! that made me smile. i should try knitting the lattice strips for one of these pies.

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  2. Your pie is truly picture perfect! I have one of those rulers packed away somewhere. Good use for it! You also make me want to get down the food processor and never try to make the pie from hand again.

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  3. Now I want to buy your food processor too. LOL! Added item to my to-buy list! LOL! Your pie slice is picture perfect! And perfect looking pie and your lattice work is awesome. I missed a few there and there..hahaha..’string’ wrongly..

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  4. What a terrific post! And thank you for the review on the food processor, as I’m in the market for one. I’ve come to really appreciate Breville, as they are making some really smart products. I have their blender and think it’s the best blender I ever had! Anyway, back to the cherry pie, your cut slice looks picture perfect. Absolutely beautiful.

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  5. Wasn’t this pie the bomb? I honestly didn’t think I was going to like it very much, but wow, I loved it! We should have all been rebels with week and posted our pies on 3.14. Oh well. Gotta love the shirt guy – you should post what this shirts say every week. One of my sons is a techy and he wears similar shirts, only most of them go over my head because they’re contain code and whatnot.

    Patricia @ ButterYum
    http://www.butteryum.org/roses-alpha-bakers/2015/3/14/tbb-sour-cherry-pie-pi-day

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  6. I just love reading your stories about your co-workers. So fun. Your pie looks scrumptious too. I just got the Breville Sous Chef and love it! I still hate cleaning it but so far it’s worked flawlessly and worth every penny I paid for it.

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