I don’t know about you and in ‘your neck of the woods’ but up here in the Pacific Northwest, cherries have been coming in like gangbusters! I can’t count the number of friends that have approached me with offers to take pounds of cherries off their hands. I hated having to turn many of them away, simply because I didn’t want to waste any, given my time constraints. In the end however, I did manage to take several pounds of cherries from a friend, all so I could try my hand at baking homemade cherry hand pies!
A juicy, sweet yet tart homemade cherry pie complete with a flaky butter, sour cream crust.
The Mother-in-Law is coming to town!
I flew my wife to see her mother, who lives in Hawaii, a couple years back for her birthday. Her mom doesn’t make it to the ‘mainland’ very often so I thought the gesture would be nice. But her mom has not seen (physically seen) her grand-kids for some years now, and so this trip was inevitable. Sure the kids and their grandmother had conversed over SKYPE many, many times over the years, but nothing beats IRL (In-Real-Life). So, long story short, grandma is coming to town in a week and the wife decided that NOW, more than ever, would be a great time to do our Spring Cleaning (or rather, FALL CLEANING).
The days were long and the nights were even longer as we slaved away in dark recesses of the house, seldom ventured to, hauling out ‘junk’ both memorable and ‘ancient.’ We must’ve made 4 or more trips to the city dump and an equal number of trips to the Salvation Army, as we muddled through the heaps of clothes, DVDs. music CDs, VHS tapes (yes, you heard that right…), old TVs, Old computers, old this, old that! It was borderline ridiculous.
At some point during all this, I came across a recipe for a flaky butter, sour cream pie crust, and when the opportunity presented itself, after a looooooong day of hard labor, I managed to sneak away (from the wife…) and make a ‘run’ for the kitchen! Time in-between hauls was short, but this HAD to be done!
I hadn’t made my mother’s homemade cherry pie for some time, and for some reason I was REALLY craving tart cherries, so this seemed the logical choice to run with to test out the crust.
Flaky Butter Sour Cream Crust
Making the crust was quick and cool, because, you know, I was doing something a bit ‘different’ than I usually do (adding in sour cream), so that small change alone made this oh, so much fun!
There were of course, the ‘usual’ steps, at mixing up some flour, salt and sugar together, then tossing all this with 2 sticks of unsalted butter, which I had cubed. After having mashed the flour-salt-sugar mix together with the ‘slightly’ softened butter cubes, with my ‘CLEAN’ hands (that was for you MOM!), I then added in the sour cream and mixed it all together with a fork.
After gathering it all together into a ball, and splitting it into two equal sizes, I flattened each out, sprinkled with flour and wrapped in plastic wrap for their hour long rest in the fridge. BACK TO CLEANING I grumbled under my breath.
Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie
The pie filling for the cherry pie, was easy-peasey to whip together, and one in which I had fully committed to memory long ago.
With almost INHUMAN speed and efficiency (at least that’s how it felt in my OWN MIND), I cracked open three cans of Oregon Red Tart Cherries, and emptied the juice into my saucepan, slightly heating it up. Within a second of that I was whisking together sugar and cornstarch and then mixing and dissolving it into my juice, as I heated it to boil.
With a bit of determined stirring the juices slowly thickened, at which point I spooned in my cherries sitting at IDLE nearby. A few dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla extract as well as a bit of red food coloring to give it a great looking flare and I was done.
Quickly rolling out my pie dough, and assembling it all together in a 9 inch pie dish, my pie was in the oven and on its way!
Cleaning wasn’t done, although it was moving forward (in fact, as of this writing I was STILL cleaning), but at least I had Mom’s Homemade Cherry Pie to smooth out the task. Pie make EVERYTHING that much better!
Pie Crust Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup of (FULL FAT) sour cream
Cherry Pie Filling Ingredients
3 14.5 Oz. cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries, Pitted, packed in water
½ tsp plus dash Nutmeg
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp butter
1 tsp Vanilla
¼ tsp Red Food Coloring
2 cups sugar
4 Tbs Corn Starch
For the pie crust…
See Elise’s wonderfully arranged blog post – No Fail, Sour Cream Pastry Crust
For the filling…
Open cans, pour liquid into a large measuring cup (each can will have different amount of liquid). You should have approximately 1-1/2cups of liquid. Pour liquid into a saucepan, heat on low.
While liquid heating up, Mix 2 cups sugar, 4 Tbls corn starch and stir into a bowl. If cornstarch is lumpy, press down to break up lumps into sugar. Pour sugar and corn starch into liquid, stirring slowly so it will dissolve. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon, let it boil until thickens, remove from heat.
Add cherries, spoon them in because dumping cans will result in unwanted juice. Place pan back on burner, continue to stir removing any ugly cherries (presentation is everything right?) – let mixture heat up again. Add ½ tsp plus dash nutmeg, ½ tsp cinnamon, stirring into mixture. Add 1 tsp vanilla, stirring into mixture. Mixture will thicken, remove from heat and add ¼ tsp Red Food Coloring.
Preheat oven 375 degrees – bake @ 375 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until crust is brown
Enjoy! I know I did!
We were buried! At least under a foot of heavy, fresh-fallen snow. Boise’s first heavy snow of the Winter (isn’t it still technically Fall?) had come, and in dramatic fashion.
Highways were shutdown, schools were closed, and kids were ecstatic. The temperatures outside were an ear nipping 15 degrees, and I had no desire to brave Winter’s fury today. What better day to bake I thought! But what, was the question!
What to Make. What to Bake
I’d been chomping at the bit, eager to start making my own pie crust for weeks now, ever since Betty Crocker hung me out to dry, and today was looking better and better as a day for experimentation.
I had been gathering up pie crust recipes from around the Web and more specifically, Pinterest, over the last several weeks, so I already had a ready supply of ideas from which to start from. The choices and flavors were many, but as ‘venturesome’ as I felt this day, I still wanted to start out slow and steady with a recipe relatively simple even for me. Chance behold, I knew exactly the one I wanted to start with!
Lo and behold, Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust!
Nothing revolutionary by any stretch but Annalise’s recipe was simple, full of buttery flavor and quick to put together. Perfect for my first attempt at making homemade pie crust.
Pie Crust Ingredients and Process
Not being the venturesome sort, I stuck to Annalise’s recipe to a ‘T’, not deviating or trying to get cure and creative one bit. This was both a fun project but an educational one as well and I loved every bit of it. My 9yr old daughter also took great interest, engaging with the process at every turn…
‘It doesn’t look like dough, Dad?’
‘It looks like a lot of flour and nothing else Dad?’
‘Shouldn’t it be coming together in a clump like dough is supposed to Dad?’
‘Oh, wait, its starting to come together Dad!’
‘Wow, it looks like pie crust dough you got at the store Dad?’
I made two iterations of Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust, as the recipe had an ‘optional’ sugar component in it that I tried once, but didn’t care for it, so I made the pie crust again without it and loved it.
Since the ‘objective’ of today’s pie baking adventure was more about the ‘pie crust’ than anything else, I figured I’d just make my standard apple pie, since I knew that recipe and process literally by heart. But, since I’d only baked my mom’s cherry pie once, and the fact that the Oregon red tart cherries were on sale at the local grocer (which was unusual but highly welcomed), I decided I’d kill two birds with one stone (sorry for the pun…) and make this a worthwhile experiment.
I took my dough out of the fridge and let it sit for about 20 min to soften a bit while I prepped my cherries – which involved thickening the juice a bit with a mix of sugar and starch and heating the mixture of cherries and juice with some nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla.
Once the dough was rolled out, the cherry mixture was poured in and the top of the pie crust gently set on top.
All set and ready to roll, I threw it in the oven for a sizzling quick 45 min.
Absolutely delish! The pie crust was fantastic. The flavor was good, with a hint of butter as was the consistency and the cherries, both tart and smothered in a sweetened juice. I was extremely please with the results. I didn’t glaze the top of the crust with egg wash as mentioned in the recipe, though I plan to do that in the next pie baking run.
Annalise’s Foolproof Flaky Pie Crust was a great success in more ways than one. It was the perfect pie crust for me to ‘get my feet wet’ and help me build the confidence and belief in myself that I was capable of putting together my own pie crust mix. And, although her pie crust will be a springboard to more ambitious pie crust projects, this recipe was so easy that it will more than likely become the ‘standard’ pie crust for the majority of my projects!