There was a time when if I told you that I was baking a pie, you would have laughed out loud. In high school or even in college, I wasn’t really known to be domestically inclined. In New York, my “cooking” was pretty much limited to toasting a piece of bread and heating up cans of soup. Churning out summaries of legal research and memos for partners. . . no problem. Rolling out dough and baking a pie. . .at that time it likely would have seemed like an unreachable, if not impossible, feat.
This blog has been a whole new kind of challenge for me. As opposed to researching legal precedent, I’m scanning magazines, pinterest and my favorite blogs for inspiration and trends. As opposed to generating a memo or an opinion letter, I’m drafting posts about my experience with a particular recipe and in some cases how I might modify or improve it. As opposed to turning in my work to a supervising partner, I’m sharing it with you all and hoping that it might inspire you to try something new or just brighten your day a little bit.
To me, baking a pie is one of those penultimate culinary challenges that is massively intimidating. You can’t really know whether it is going to turn out until it is all said and done. And if you are responsible for dessert, you cross your fingers that when that big pie slicing moment comes along, the fruit inside will be tender and sweet (but not too sweet) and the crust will be buttery and flakey (but not at all mushy).
I was set on using fresh cherries to make this pie, although I am sure that using frozen cherries or canned cherries could work out well too. From everything that I’ve read, sour cherries are ideal for baking a cherry pie, but all that I have seen in the stores so far this year is sweet cherries. Smitten Kitchen has been one of my blogospheric (is it ok that I think I just made up that word??) idols for a long time now, so I started with Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the pie itself, along with Deb’s recipe for an all-butter pie crust. Along the way, I also consulted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for a Sweet Cherry Pie. The result was an awesomely flakey, buttery crust along with a not-too-sweet filling.
A couple of tips that I walked away with:
1. You can definitely make the crust a day ahead of time and let it “chill out” in the fridge. This breaks up the process and makes it seem not so daunting.
2. Purchasing a cherry pitter is worth it. I read somewhere along the way that pitting the cherries inside a big plastic bag keeps from making a mess. This worked for me. I also cut the cherries in half, in addition to pitting them.
3. Deb recommends discarding the liquid before you put the “cherry filling” in the pie. This may have prevented the pie from getting soggy.
4. I was tempted to try a lattice crust, but America’s Test Kitchen advises using a full top crust because the sealed top creates an oven effect that softens the sweet cherries.
5. America’s Test Kitchen also recommends preheating the baking sheet, which I did. The bottom crust turned out very nice and not mushy at all.
Is it a little lopsided? Maybe. It is certainly not perfect. But I made it all on my own. And it tasted pretty darn good. So maybe you’ll make your own cherry pie this summer. Because if I can do it, I know that you certainly can too 🙂
There have been lots of awesome “summer is here” recipes that have caught my eye over the past week. Here are some that I’ve been especially in love with:
These brownie and oatmeal monster cookies are every child’s (or maybe adult’s too) dream. YUM.
Holy moly. . .someone figured out how to make Clinton St. Bakery’s blueberry buttermilk pancakes.
How gorgeous are these fruit popsicles with coconut milk?
This sriracha honey lime chicken looks finger lickin good.
Loving this blackberry & lemon zest crostini!
These cauliflower fritters with mint and pea spread look awesome.
Healthy banana nut muffins will be made this summer for sure.
Cookies and cream popsicles. . .I’m in Oreo cookie heaven.
Vodka Strawberry Lemonade Cocktails ~ this is pretty much my dream cocktail.
And this is the most festive drink ever!
See y’all later this week 🙂