Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Grandpa and Cherry Pie

Yum
My grandpa was always a kidder.  You never knew if he was serious or not and was always cracking a joke.  As kids, he used to tell my sister and I about the elephants that lived under his house.  He had very good explanations as to why that was totally possible and I believed it with heart and soul!  He was a lover of ice cream, that was almost completely melted, and he loved cherry pie.  EVERY single time he had a slice of cherry pie, he found a cherry pit.  I mean every single time!  It didn't matter if the cherry pie was home-made or store bought or out at a restaurant, there was a pit in his slice.  I kid you not!  As I got older, I began thinking that he "owned" a cherry pit that he would slip into his slice because there was always one in there.  How could that be?  I never found out if that was true or not, but cherry pie always reminds me of my grandpa and his cherry pit escapades.  So real or not, it is a great memory of him.

With all of my handpicked, machine depitted cherries, I went with a classic cherry pie recipe that used a whole wheat crust.  Trying to make it a little more healthy?  Maybe?  Anyway, this is what I got.


The crust is FABULOUS!  And, of course, the cherries did not disappoint.



Making your own home-made pie, complete with home-made crust is really not that hard.  Once you have made your own, you will totally notice the difference.  I used two different pie crust recipes.  One recipe for the bottom crust that will really hold up to the juices and won't become soggy.  The top crust recipe is light and flaky.  Here's what you do to make 1-9" pie.

Ingredients for cherries:
5 cups of pitted tart cherries
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 Tbsp flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla extract)

In a saucepan, mix together the cherries and sugar.  Bring to a boil and cook over low heat for 7-8 minutes.  Stir in flour and salt, cook until thickened.  It will take an additional 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the extract and remove from heat.

Ingredients for bottom pie crust:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cups oats (ground in a food processor or mini chopper)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
3-4 Tbsp cold water

Mix together the flour, oats, sugar and salt.  Cut butter into the flour mixture until small granules form.  Add the water and use your hands to incorporate until a dough forms.  You may need to add more water, whole wheat flour tends to be drier.  Leave in bowl and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Ingredients for top pie crust:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup white flour
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
3-4 Tbsp cold water
1 beaten egg as an egg wash at the end
granulated sugar

Mix together the flours, sugar and salt.  Cut butter into the flour mixture until small granules form.  Add the water and use your hands to incorporate until a dough forms.  You may need to add more water, whole wheat flour tends to be drier.  Leave in bowl and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

To make pie, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out bottom crust until it is the size of your pie plate.  Lay into pie plate.  Spoon in the cherry mixture.  Roll out the top crust and place on top of the cherries.  Use a watered finger to seal the two crusts together.  Poke a hole into the center of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  During the last 10 minutes, brush with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle with granualted sugar to give the pie crust that golden glow.








The bottom crust is like a shortbread cookie and the top crust is light and flaky.  Of course, the cherries in the center are the main attraction.  After you have this pie, you will never want anything but home-made.

I didn't have a cherry pit in my slice.  I guess that is only reserved for my grandpa.

Celebrate the little things that make life sweet,