March 14th is National Pi Day. My son and I both have a crazy passion for sour cherries. So.... I made this pi(e) in honor of pi day -- to celebrate it. Sour cherries are hard to find. Their season is short. And they are not so available in cans or frozen. So, when we find them somewhere, we really stock up. Last time we found cans of sour cherries in a Walmart (of all places!). We bought out the entire shelf full --- filled our shopping cart.
Today, I got 3 cans down from the top shelf of my cabinet and drifted into pie-making mode -- the "Cherry 3-14 Pi(e)."
I craved a flaky buttery crust -- I used a high butter to shortening ratio, I added cider vinegar, and I rolled it out more thickly than usual. I wanted the bottom to be crisp, not soggy --- so I painted the bottom crust with egg white before I put in the cherry filling. I wanted to lean towards sour rather than coax the cherries too far into the sweet sensation. So I really cut way back on the sugar, I added a little lemon juice to give it another tart dimension, and I added almond and orange extract to round out the bright round lush flavor of the cherries. I chose potato starch vs. cornstarch or tapioca to thicken the juiciness because I think it works better with cherry juice. I started to bake the pie at 425 degrees then lowered the oven to 375 for the last bit. Let the pie sit for an hour after it's done to let the juices set up a little. Happy Pi(e) Day!
Too bad the Food52 Pie contest is closed already -- but I wanted to do this in on Pi Day.
Preheat oven 425 degrees.
Mix flour and salt in a food processor.
Add the butter and shortening and process until it forms soft tiny balls. Continue to process while adding the vinegar, then the ice water. Stop when the dough starts to mound up and take shape.
Pat the dough into a 6" disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, while you make the filling.
After it has chilled, cut the disc in half. Place the disc on a large sheet of wax paper. Cover the disc with another sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough, from the center, out, into an 11" diameter circle. Peel the top sheet off. Flip the dough into a 9" pie dish. Peel the other sheet off the dough as you settle it into the pie dish. Brush the the dough with egg white. Pour in the cherry filling.
Roll out the other half disc of dough in the same way as above. Peel the top sheet of paper off. Cut the dough into 3/4" wide strips.
Lay the strips across the cherries, weaving them to form a lattice top. Crimp the pie edges.
Place pie dish on a baking pan. Bake on lower rack of oven for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for another another 30 to 40 minutes until crust is as brown as you like it. If the edges are starting to brown too much ahead of the rest, cover edges with strips of aluminum foil to finish baking.
Let pie rest at room temperature for at least an hour before eating. Those cherries stay roof-of-your-mouth-burning hot for a long time! And it would be too runny if you tried to cut it right away.
Of course vanilla or butter almond ice cream works great if you like. Chocolate is amazing too.
If using canned or frozen cherries, drain and save their juice.
If using fresh cherries, cook them together for a few minutes until they begin to release about a third of their juice. Drain the cherries, save the juice.
In a medium size pot, heat the cherry juice together with the lemon juice and the almond and orange extracts. Simmer for one minute. Take pot off the heat.
Mix potato starch and sugar together, then add them to the cherry juice mixture, stirring briskly until it begins to thicken slightly. Add the cherries and mix gently. Let it cool while you roll out the crust.