Sweet and Sour Cherry Pie

After the success of this week’s cherry cobbler, I knew it was high time I made my first cherry pie.

However in typical Pie Girl fashion, I had to mix it up a bit.  Enter sour cherries.  I’ve always seen these at the market and been so in love with their bright red colour, yet I never bothered to buy them.  I thought of using a mix of sweet and sour cherries before buying but I tried a sour one at the market to be sure, and I’m actually kicking myself that I haven’t been baking with these longer.  THEY ARE DELICIOUS – sour in the best way.  I finally understand the concept of the sour Cherry Blaster candy.

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This pie has the best of the sweet and sour cherry world.  The classic sweetness of Bing cherries, made not too sweet and a bit tangy with these gorgeous ruby red sour cherries. The lovely colour that comes from the both of them together is the cherry on top (no pun intended…)  I also used lime juice to cut the sweetness which is a lovely complement to the cherry flavours (although very subtle).

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Get ready for some juicy hands

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup butter (straight from the fridge, cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar, mix it in the water)

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted
  • 2 1/2 cups sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Steps

To make the crust, mix together flour, sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender, “cut” in the butter. This means you’re almost mashing the butter into the flour with the blender, ensuring all butter is covered in flour until the butter pieces are about the size of peas or a bit bigger.

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Then, splash in a bit of your water mixture (2-3 tablespoons) and mix it around with your hand.  Continue to add a little at a time and mix and squish with your hand until a large dough ball forms.  If you need to get a bit more binding, add a bit of water to your fingers to help it along.  Don’t feel compelled to use all the water, mix it in until just combined and the dough is holding together.  Cut the dough ball into two halves and flatten into disks. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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Remove from fridge and let sit for 5-10 minutes so the dough doesn’t crack. Roll out each disk on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick (it will be about 12-13 inches in diameter).

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Fold the rolled out crust in half and set into a buttered 9 inch pie pan.  Unfold gently and settle the bottom of the crust into the corners.  Refrigerate while making filling.

Roll out the other dough disk and cut into 8 strips (6 large, 2 very small) with a paring knife or pizza cutter, braiding a strip if desired. This will be your lattice.  Place in fridge.

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To make the filling, mix pitted cherries with lime juice and sugar, stirring gently together.  Add arrowroot starch, spices and salt and stir gently to combine. (A trick to pit cherries without a pitter: take an empty wine bottle, place stemmed cherry on top of the bottle mouth. Hold cherry in place and poke through the middle with a chopstick. The pit should fall out into the bottle.)

Remove pie shell from fridge and sprinkle 1 tsp each of flour and sugar on the bottom to keep the crust from getting soggy (this is an important step for juicy fillings like this).  Scoop in filling with a slotted spoon.

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To make the lattice, arrange two thick strips in an off-centre “T”, like below.  Place a strip vertically on top of the horizontal strip on either side of the first vertical strip.  Place one under the horizontal strip on the end, and it will look like the photo on the right.

Peel back the second and fourth vertical strip from the left and place a strip horizontally below the existing horizontal strip, and place the peeled back strips back on top.  Repeat with two horizontal strips on top, alternating which you peel back and the pie will look like below.

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Roll the crust overhang over top of the ends of the lattice strips, like a crust wall trimming any overhang if you feel you need to.  Make sure the “wall” is sealed well so it doesn’t unroll while baking.

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To crimp the edge of the crust, “pinch and push” using your thumb and pointer finger and other thumb, like below:

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Place the pie in the fridge for 10 minutes and preheat the oven to 425F.

Remove pie from fridge and brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar to your liking.  The egg wash ensures the pie is nicely browned.

Place the pie on a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and bake for 20 minutes until the pie crust is starting to set and brown.  Reduce the oven heat to 375F and bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust has browned and juices are bubbling throughout the pie.  Let cool for 2-3 hours and enjoy!

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