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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Mine went into the fridge on Tuesday night, so I could put together the pie on Wednesday.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The finished pie was definitely a hit.
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.