Tart Cherry Pie


So my cousin Donna gave me a call a week or so ago asking for my "delicious cherry pie and whole wheat crust recipe" (her words not mine). So not to disappoint I had to make some up! It actually worked out perfectly because John's dad loves this pie and it being fathers day yesterday... I'll let you can figure that one out ;) It's also his birthday next week and since I'll be out of town (in NJ partying it up baby shower style for my sister!! lots of recipes to come from that I'm sure... so stay tuned) the pie worked for a fathers day/ birthday all in one :)

I used Oregon red tart cherries that are canned in water (no syrup!!) they are delicious and can be found in the canned fruit isle. Now if you say have a local tart cherry orchard near by (Donna...) you can totally adapt this recipe to use fresh cherries, I'll write about that in a bit.

First things first, make the pie crust! I like a naked top pie (so scandalous!), so I only make a single crust, if you want a covered pie just make two crusts and remember to vent the top crust once you put it on so it doesn't blow up... unless you like exploding pies... in that case have fun!

Single Whole Wheat Crust
1 cup whole wheat flour (plus more for dusting counter and rolling pin)
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbs cold butter
4-5 Tbs cold water

Instructions
Mix flour and salt, add chunks of cold butter and using a pasty knife... or 2 knives or a fork and knife if that's all you have on hand and cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs.


Sprinkle water one tablespoon at a time and using your hands form the dough into a ball. Don't over wet or the crust will be tough and not nice and flaky. Another option is to use vodka instead of water, it evaporates in the oven leaving the crust very light. My dad has done it and it turned out great. I didn't have any vodka on hand so I just used plain old cold water :)

Place in the refrigerator to firm up a bit if the dough is getting too soft or feels greasy. On a floured surface using a floured rolling pin (or a wine bottle if you don't have a rolling pin) to flatten out the crust. Once it's large enough to cover the bottom sides and hang over a 9 inch pie pan transfer to the pan and pinch the excess crust to form a nice edge. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

As you can see I put John to work. As a wee lad he always made the pie edges for his mom so I used his expert skills and put him to work! The kid wont eat butter but he'll happily shape it into a pie crust for me :)

ok now onto the filling! Seriously don't buy pie filling in a can... it's gross, just say NO! Plus this is so super easy to make why would you want to buy canned filling??

Cherry Pie Filling (using canned cherries packed in water)
6 Tbs brown sugar (more or less to taste, if you like a sweet pie you'll want to add more)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cans Oregon Red Tart Pie Cherries, drained, reserve juice from one can
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional but oh so tasty!)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the cherries and reserve the juice from only one can. In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract. Remove from heat. Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Bake 45 minutes or until crust browns and filling begins to bubble. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.

ready to go in the oven... this pie tin is great, it has handles! no more sticking your thumb into the pie!

hot and bubbly out of the oven

Cherry Pie Filling (using fresh cherries) this is in theory I haven't tried it in practice yet...
6 Tbs brown sugar (more or less to taste, if you like a sweet pie you'll want to add more)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 lbs Tart Cherries, pitted, soaked in 1 1/3 cups water overnight
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional but oh so tasty!)


Instructions for fresh cherries
Wash and pit cherries and place in a bowl with 1 1/3 cups water and let sit overnight. You will use half this cherry saturated water (2/3 cup) in making the sauce the next day.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the cherries and reserve 2/3 cup juice. In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract. Remove from heat. Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Bake 45 minutes or until crust browns and filling begins to bubble. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.

Slice up and serve by itself or with a scoop of icecream
Chow!!

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