Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20: National Cherry Pie Day

Yesterday, when I checked to see what today's food celebration was, I thought, "Ooh, cherry pie day!  Cool - I'll make a cherry pie!"  It wasn't until I remembered there was no mail delivery today that I realized that today's probably National Cherry Pie Day because it's also George Washington's Birthday.  Yes, sometimes the most obvious connections will elude me for a long time, then jump in front of me.

Making a cherry pie today not only celebrates National Cherry Pie Day, but National Cherry Month, and Great American Pies Month.  (What are the "Great American Pies" anyhow?  Apple and cherry?  Or does it need to be a pie with a patriotically themed top crust?)
I toyed with the thought of making mini pies, since individual-sized desserts are trendy right now.  (Plus, I keep eyeing the Mini Pocket Pie Molds from Williams-Sonoma every time I go in.)  I knew I would be short on time tonight, though, so a simple, quick pie would be the way to go.  This meant instead of making the same crust I used in the rhubarb pie attempt, I opted to use ready-made pie crust from Pillsbury.  (A pack of two was less than $4.)

Once again, I looked at various recipes and went, "Meh, who needs a recipe?"  While that attitude led to disaster with the rhubarb pie, today's cherry pie experiment came out an almost success.  I started with a pack of ready-made Pillsbury pie crust and a bag of frozen sweet black cherries.  I realized I didn't have enough cherries, so I appropriated some cherry preserves from my roommate.  I cooked the cherries and a cup of the cherry preserves in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  When most of the liquid had come out of the cherries, I mixed 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of corn starch.  I removed the cherries from heat, added the sugar-starch mixture, added 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of wine.  (I used Little Penguin Merlot, but you could really use any red wine with berry tones.)  Then I returned it to a very low heat, and simmer until the mixture thickened.  I removed it from the head and let it cool.

Oh, this isn't going to be pretty...
When the cherry mixture cooled, I put it one of the crusts and followed the directions on the package for using the other crust as the top crust.  I didn't do that part so well and the crust broke in places it wasn't supposed to and I got some of the cherry filling on the edge.  This was when I realized it wasn't going to be a very pretty pie.

 I baked it for 50 minutes at 375.  At 18 minutes in I realized I had forgotten to put tin foil on the crust.  So I pulled it out, put the foil on to keep it from burning.  At 50 minutes, I pulled it out, brushed the top with an egg white wash and sprinkled sugar on top, and popped the pie back in the oven for another 10 minutes. 

Cherry pie innards
We should've let it cool completely before cutting into it, but we didn't.  As a result, the filling oozed and it was impossible to cut the pie nicely.  At that point, I didn't really care about the pie's appearance since the crust wasn't pretty - I just wanted to know what it tasted like.  The roommate declared, "Points for not using too much sugar this time" and proceeded to inhale a piece.  It was a pretty tasty pie.  I'll probably repeat the steps to make another cherry pie, but next time I'll make my own crust and let the pie cool.  (Now that the pie has cooled, the filling doesn't ooze out quite so much.)  I might also consider using chocolate wine in the pie, as a hint of chocolate would go really well with the cherries.  I like the result - I just wish I had some whipped cream to go with it.

Looks more like a cherry crumble or cobbler than a pie,
 but still pretty darn tasty!

No comments:

Post a Comment