I hope your festive season has been wonderful, and that the new year is treating you well. I have a great feeling from 2015 already.
I’m starting my 2015 with a recipe post — a dessert designed to use up my leftover sweet cherries from Christmas day. This sweet cherry pie was quite the hit after last night’s bean stew.
Having never before attempted a cherry pie, I foraged the internet for suitable recipes to use as my base. While most required sour cherries, I eventually discovered this easy recipe from Martha Stewart, which I adapted to my own pantry and tastes .
The flavours in this pie are simple and satisfying; the cherry is the undeniable king of the dish. Note, however, that this recipe is not for those seeking raw, sugar free or gluten free desserts.
Recipe #150: Sweet cherry pie. Serves 12. You will need a large mixing bowl, a cherry pipper (available from good kitchenware stores), baking paper, foil, a rolling pin (or wine bottle), and a 20cm round springform cake tin to make this recipe.
You will need:
► 1 quantity of Damien Pignolet’s shortcrust pastry  [= 180g butter + pinch of salt + 240g plain flour + 60g icy cold water]
► 1.4kg sweet cherries [weighed whole, ie. with seeds and stems attached]
► 3/4 cup of caster sugar [I used raw sugar converted to caster sugar in the Thermomix]
► 3 rounded Tbsp of arrowroot flour [Martha uses cornflour]
► 4 Tbsp of lemon juice [= juice of one lemon]
► milk or water, for brushing the top of your pie
► panela or rapadura, for sprinkling on top of your pie
► double cream, to serve
Begin by preheating your oven to 205°C and lining the base of your springform tin with baking paper (lock it onto the base with the spring mechanism — don’t worry about the sides of the tin).
Next, make your pastry. I have introduced Damien Pignolet’s excellent recipe to you before, and it’s a great all-round pastry to use, no matter whether your dish is savoury or sweet. Once the basic pastry is made, form it into a disc shape and place into cling wrap or a container in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the recipe — for at least 20 minutes.
To prepare the cherries, detach the stems and remove the pips with a cherry pipper. In your large mixing bowl, toss the pitted cherries in the caster sugar, arrowroot flour and lemon juice. Let this mixture sit while you prepare the pastry.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and set aside ~1/4 of the pastry; this is for the top of the pie. Roll out the rest of the pastry into a circle of about 1/2cm-thickness. Gently roll this around the rolling pin and place it over the top of the springform tin. Allow the pastry to droop into the centre of the tin, then encourage the pastry down the sides of the tin, trying not to stretch of break it. Carefully trim any pastry that overhangs the tin and use this to fill in any ‘gaps’ showing on the sides of the tin.
>If the pastry does break, don’t fret; you can use little bits of leftover pastry to fill the holes. It’s pretty forgiving.
>You do need your pastry to be completely hole-less after this process, as the cherry juice will leak out of any holes.
Fill your pastry ‘shell’ with the pitted cherry mix.
Take the pastry you set to one side and roll it into a round that will approximately fit the top of the cake tin. Gently roll this around the rolling pin and transfer it to the cake tin, then roll the pastry over the top of the pie and allow it to depress into the cherry mix. Press the edges of the pastry top into the sides and roll over or cut off any excess pastry. You can make a pretty pattern around the edge of the tin with a fork, if you like, or you can make a thumbprint pattern around the edges like I did.
You’ll also need to provide a vent-hole for moisture to escape as the pie cooks. I used a sharp knife to cut lots of little holes across the top of my pie in a diagonal pattern.
Finally, brush the top of the pie with milk or water [use your fingers if you don’t have a pastry brush] and give a liberal sprinkling of panela before placing it in your preheated oven to cook.
Bake your pie for ~70 minutes, or until the pastry is beautifully browned and the cherry juices are bubbling through your crackled pastry. Check the pie regularly; you may find it looking perfect at the 30-40 minute mark. If this is the case, loosely cover the pie with foil before continuing to bake.
Once you have taken your pie from the oven, let it cool in its tin for 3-4 hours. Serve in generous slices with dollops of double cream.
As far as health benefits go, cherries are antioxidant-rich and reputed to be fabulous for cancer prevention, reduction of inflammation and gout, and anti-aging qualities. If you can get your hands on some sour cherries, they have the added benefits of aiding sleep, reducing belly fat, lowering stroke risk, and decreasing pain after exercise. [3,4,5]
Happy 2015! May this year bring you lashings of the weird and the wonderful and the new.
- Stewart, M. (2008) “Sweet Cherry Pie” on MarthaStewart.com. Available online via http://www.marthastewart.com/314828/sweet-cherry-pie [last accessed: 31 December 2014].
- Pignolet, D. cited in ABC (2006) “Shortcrust Pastry” on 702 ABC Sydney. Available online via http://www.abc.net.au/local/recipes/2006/06/15/1663461.htm [last accessed: 31 December 2014].
- Mercola, J. (2014) “What Are Cherries Good For?” on Mercola.com. Available online via http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/02/health-benefits-cherries.aspx [last accessed: 1 January 2015].
- Nerve Health Institute (2012) “Black Cherries: Your fuel with six health benefits” on http://www.nervehealthinstitute.com/. Available online via http://www.nervehealthinstitute.com/announcements/black-cherries-fruit-of-the-week [last accessed: 1 January 2015].
- Turner, N. (2013) “Six Hidden Health Benefits of Cherries” on HuffingtonPost.com. Available online via http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/natasha-turner-nd/cherries-benefits_b_3757989.html [last accessed: 1 January 2015].