Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Abundance

Fruit picking season has begun.  Baking, canning, drying, freezing, all the hours spent processing farm fresh fruit is well worth it.  Today we went to a u-pick farm in Brentwood called Pease Ranch.  Not certified organic but all pesticide free, these cherries are super sweet and delicious.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves picking until our hearts were content.  Anyone who knows me well knows that pie is absolutely my favorite food on earth, any kind, but especially cherry.  So here is my version of a homemade, country cherry pie.  There aren't really too many measurements, as that's how I tend to bake.  You may just need to experiment to get it right.  Oh, and don't forget that vanilla Haagen Dazs!

Pie Crust (Pate Brisee)
2 1/2 cups flour (can use unbleached white or half white and half whole wheat)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup very cold butter, cubed
Ice cold water, 8-10 tbls. 
(double recipe so there is enough dough to play around with)

Combine flour salt and sugar in food processor or kitchen aid, mix lightly.  Add butter and mix into a meal.  Add water and mix gently until dough comes together.  Dump the dough onto a board and shape/press into a disk.  Chill for an hour or so while you pit the cherries.  (Can be chilled for up to 4 months.)

Pie Filling
Pitted cherries, enough to fill pie plate (or other fresh fruit in season)
About a cup of maple syrup
Butter, several pats
1 egg

Once you have pitted enough cherries to fill your pie plate (this goes way faster with a cherry pitter!), press the dough evenly into the dish. 

Place all the pitted cherries into a large bowl and drizzle maple syrup over the top.  Toss the cherries around and taste for sweetness.  If not sweet enough for you then drizzle on more syrup.  Toss in about a half of a handful of flour over the cherries, just enough to coat them.  Stir gently and then pour into pie shell.  Place pats of butter here and there over the top of the cherries then begin to assemble the top crust in the pattern you desire, or just cover the whole pie with remaining dough.  

Pinch down the edges of the pie and brush with a beaten egg until all the top is shinny.  You can then sprinkle the top with sugar or leave it plain (its probably already sweet enough!) 

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 325 and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling (about 30-35 minutes). 
Enjoy!  This weekend's breakfast will be fresh eggs and cherry scones:).  

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