Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cherry "Pie-let"

Every Wednesday during the semester (which has just ended), my friend would pick something from my bookmarked recipes for me to make for her. Since I love to bake, and she enjoys my treats, it was a win-win situation! This past week, she asked me to make her the cherry pie from Smitten Kitchen.

I was happy to do that dessert because I wanted to try out another pie crust recipe. The first time I made pie crust, I used the one from Pioneer Woman's site, which originated from one of her readers, Sylvia L. While it was really flaky, delicious, and easy to put together because it did not require many cold ingredients, Smitten Kitchen's version had a mixture of (cold) butter and shortening in it. Therefore, it was very flaky and buttery. Her recipe, however, was a little harder to put together only because the ingredients had to stay cold in my warm apartment.

Since my friend lives alone, she wanted a small pie because I was overloading her with too many sweets every week haha. Consequently, I had to go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond and buy some tart pans. (*sigh* the things I do for my friends hehe. Nah, it was really an excuse to buy a new kitchen accessory!). *I found cheaper ones on Amazon*

I made two "pie-lets" that were intended for her. However, I made the first one so late at night, that I was too tired to put the top crust on the second one and bake it. I decided to just make the second one the next day and reserve it for me :D. I forgot to take a picture of her pie since it was so late. It was so pretty. I guess the second one didn't turn out too badly either (it is the one pictured); the first one was much prettier though. I didn't put the egg wash on my pie-let because I simply didn't want to crack another egg just for a egg wash when the pie-let was just for me.

You should definitely try out this recipe. It is pretty rich. My friend said she really enjoyed it but was unable to finish it all in one sitting. I agree that it was very filling, yet so delicious.

Sweet Cherry Pie
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough for a double-crust pie

For crust
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water (I used exactly 10, but I think it could have used one more tablespoon)

Make crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor or a big bowl. Cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms with the processor (off/on spurts), two forks, a pastry cutter, or your hands (work quickly, if you pick the latter). Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half (I managed to make three sections). Flatten each half into disk (with a rolling pin while in an open ziploc bag). Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling (~15 minutes).)

4 cups pitted fresh cherries (about 2 1/2 pounds unpitted) (I used canned cherries; frozen ones would work, too)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits (I used 2 Tbsps)

1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (optional, IMO)
Coarse sugar, for decoration (I used granulated sugar)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.

Roll out half of chilled dough (use larger piece, if you’ve divided them unevenly) on a floured work surface to 13-inch round. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan, either by rolling it around the rolling pin and unrolling it over the pan or by folding it into quarters and unfolding it in the pan. Trim edges to a half-inch overhang.

Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.

Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.


  1. You are such a kind friend to let her choose what you will bake! The pie looks delicious!

  2. I love cherry pies and your is so cute! The flakey crust looks amazing. What a great friend you are.

  3. AMAZING! This one looks so good, I really want to try this recipe :))

  4. Yum, yum, yum!!! Where was this Memoria when I lived in Austin? When did you become such a wonderful chef? Bravo! Bravo!

  5. what a lucky friend!!!
    You're cherry pie must be delicious!!:)


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