It’s been a while since I posted a sweet recipe. I try to refrain from making cakes and sweet treats unless we have company, otherwise there are far too many leftovers lurking around tempting me. A few weeks ago I needed to make a dessert to take to a family dinner and I was craving sour cherries. Unfortunately we don’t get fresh sour cherries here in Sydney, not that I’ve seen anyway, so I had to rely on jarred sour cherries that are imported from Macedonia. I did a lot of searching on the web in regards to the filling as the crux of this pie, and most fruit pies, is for the filling to set and be firm. It seems that tapioca flour is the best product to use but I’ve never come across it in Sydney. Obviously in the States where pie making is a national pastime it’s readily available, so definitely use it if you can. I substituted with cornflour which worked but I would’ve liked the filling to be slightly firmer. It’s important to let the pie rest and cool down before slicing. Cutting into it while it’s still warm will leave a puddle of fruit on your plate. This is a very easy pie to put together. The only slightly fiddly element being the pastry. I turned to baking genius extraordinaire Rose Levy Beranbaum for guidance on the lattice topping. Her Youtube video on how this is done can be found here. Nothing beats a nice traditional slice of pie after dinner or with a cup of coffee, it’s both comforting and delicious and makes you feel a little old fashioned in the best possible way.
Pie Crust – Enough for 1x 9 inch pie with lattice
2 cups plain flour
180g cold unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4-6 tablespoons iced water
1 egg beaten with a little cream
Sour Cherry Filling
2 x 670g jars pitted sour cherries, place the cherries into a sieve over a bowl and let it drain for an hour
½ cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons corn flour – use tapioca flour if you can find it
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon almond extract
To make the pie dough: Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third. Cut the butter into 2cm cubes and leave it in the fridge to keep it cold. Place the flour and salt in a medium size bowl and stir to combine. Using a pastry cutter or your thumb and forefingers, blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Add the rest of the butter and rub in with your fingers or your pastry cutter. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the ice water over the flour and butter mixture, and bring together with a fork or pastry cutter. Keep adding a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough just comes together, this normally works out to be about 5 tablespoons but can vary depending on your flour. Knead with your hands into a ball, taking care not to work the dough too much. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, and flatten into a disc about six-inches wide. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes before using.
Preheat oven to 200C. To make the filling place the drained cherries into a bowl. Take one third of a cup of the reserved cherry juice and combine with the cornflour, stirring well to completely incorporate it into the juice. Add the juice mixture to the cherries along with all the other ingredients. Lightly stir to thoroughly combine, being careful not to crush the fruit. Set aside.
To roll out the crust, take the dough out of the fridge, if it’s been in longer than 45 minutes let it rest for a while to bring it to a workable temperature. Lightly flour your work surface and divide the dough into two thirds and one third. Tale the bigger piece of dough and roll it out until it’s large enough to fit the bottom and sides of your pie dish. Carefully transfer it into your dish and lightly press it into the bottom and sides. Don’t worry if you have a little too much overhang. Spoon the cherry filling into the pie dish and smooth it out into an even layer. Set the pie aside while you make the lattice topping using this method. Brush the exposed pastry, lattice and sides, with the egg and cream mixture and bake for 50-60 minutes. 20 minutes into the cooking time take the pie out of the oven and cover the edges of the pastry with foil to stop them from over browning. When the pie has finished cooking leave it to completely cool before slicing. Serve at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.