Sweet Cherry Pie with Grated Crust
31 May 2008

Alright, so I recruited myself some good free child labour (my niece) and yesterday evening we pitted about 12 cups of cherries. This morning we got right to work. The leftover crust from the top of yesterday’s strawberry rhubarb was the freezer—not as a disc but roughly as a rectangle/cube. (This is an idea out of Pie by Ken Haedrich.) We rolled out one disc of simply flaky crust (with a “new” rolling pin—I just got my grandma’s rolling pin, which was her mother’s before her! It’s a simple wood one, but it worked great). Inverted into the pie dish, made a ridge around the edge and crimped, then put in the fridge while we moved on.

Next, the filling. The general idea for this came from Pie also, but he called for cherry liqueur or peach schnapps, neither of which I have. He also didn’t include almond extract, which I believe is essential to cherry pie.

After Munchkin and I made and sampled the first pie, I made some changes to the recipe as I made a second pie (this one for the friend of mine who actually hand picked all the cherries).

5(ish) cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted
2/3 cup sugar + 3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract*
1/4 tsp almond extract*
*(I measured these low so it wasn’t quite 1/4 each, but just a little less)
2 tbsp cornstarch

Mix together cherries, 2/3 cup sugar, lemon juice, and extracts. Mix up really well and taste because cherries taste absolutely delicious this way. (Okay, that’s not really a step in the recipe but I definitely recommend it.) Let sit for a bit (about 15 minutes will do) to let the juices do their thing.

In a separate small bowl, thoroughly mix together 3 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp cornstarch. Add this to the cherries when they’re done sitting.

Stir it all up and pour into pie crust. Using the large holes on a cheese grater, grate the block of frozen crust dough (assuming you don’t bake non-stop like I’ve been doing, you’ll need to make a double crust pastry recipe for this—one crust rolled out and put in the pan, and one crust frozen in a block). Sprinkle grated crust over the top of the cherries. Make a nice thick layer. Dust with sugar (Ken Haedrich recommends coarse sanding sugar, but I didn’t have any lying about so I just used plain white granulated sugar).

Bake at 400°F for about 30 minutes. Rotate pie 180 degrees. I had some trouble getting the first pie to thicken, so I modified my bake time for the second one. The crust was plenty done though, so I pulled the oven shelf out and layered strips of aluminium foil around the outer edges of the crust. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for another 35-40 minutes. At about 30 minutes, check to make sure the juices are bubbling! They have to bubble for a good long while—I made sure mine bubbled for 15 minutes and the filling is nice and thick this time.

When the pie is done baking, remove from oven and set on a cooling rack. Let cool for about 2 hours (this was the longest two hours of my neice’s life!). Tastes great served with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream.

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