I love pies. Cream pies, chocolate pies, chestnut pies, sweet potato pies. Can anything be more indulgent than a rich buttery crust which holds a rich flavourful filling?
The one kind of pie I can’t stand making is a fruit pie. In theory, I also like eating fruit pies, but so far, I haven’t been able to make one that tastes as good as it should. The pie crust isn’t the problem—I’ve been using the same recipe for awhile now and it always yields rich, flaky results. It’s the fruit filling that has shaken my faith in the awesomeness of pies.
Whenever I try making a fruit pie, the filling produces so much water that the bottom half of the crust doesn’t even cook properly. And usually, the filling is way too sweet. The filling is made with fruit after all, and fruit already contains a lot of natural sugars, so it’s justified that I don’t understand why I have to add an extra 2 cups of sugar into the filling.
Whenever I decrease the amount of sugar in a filling, I always increase the amount of thickener because sugar plays a role in thickening the filling. I’ve just about mastered the ratio with my Apple Pie, but it seems that it’s going to take a couple more pies before I can say that I know how to make a good Lattice-Top Cherry Vanilla Pie. The bottom crust was soggy (as predicted) and the filling was overly sweet (also as predicted).
After researching about different thickeners and their pros and cons (Google is a lifesaver sometimes), I’ve learned that acidic liquids diminish the thickening ability of cornstarch. Hmm, obviously, this recipe I’m using is no good...
Next time I make another cherry pie (which is in the unforeseeable future since it’s not every weekend that my uncle goes cherry picking and gives us his excess of six pounds of fresh cherries), I am going to use a different thickener and even less sugar.
Click below for the recipe.
Lattice-Top Cherry Vanilla Pie
Pie Crust adapted from: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pies/pastry-for-single-crust-pie/
Cherry Filling adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Dessert/Fruit/recipe.html?dishID=676
NOTE: If you don’t have a cherry pitter, I would suggest buying frozen cherries which have already been pitted; it’s too much work to manually pit each cherry. Also, the filling turned out too thin (so expect it to be liquid-y) and sweet for me, probably because I used cornstarch and didn’t reduce the sugar enough. Next time I make this pie, I am going to use arrowroot powder (which can substitute cornstarch at a ratio of 1:1) and reduce the amount of sugar. I haven’t tested that method yet, so if you decide to use arrowroot powder, I’d love to hear how it turned out.
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 10-12 tablespoons ice water
- 5 cups cherries pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
For the crust, in a large bowl, stir flour and salt together. Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form.
In a small bowl, stir lemon juice with water.
Gradually add a few teaspoons of water to the flour-butter mixture at a time. Stir and push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat until all flour is moistened. Divide the pastry into two flattened balls; wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
For filling, stir all ingredients except the egg and turbinado sugar together in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 450F. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of pastry to ¼ inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish, and trim about 1-inch overhang of pie plate. Roll the other disc to 1/8-inch thick and using a pizza cutter, cut into 1-inch wide strips. Pour the cherry filling into the pie crust and place the strips overtop to form the lattice top. (I didn’t even bother weaving it, which is what makes this an “easy” lattice pie.) Fold the overhang over the edge of the strips and crimp as desired. (I did a classic crimp.) Brush the top of the pie crust with the egg and sprinkle the sugar over top.
Place on a baking sheet (in case any of the filling bubbles over, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the oven floor), and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 45-60 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbly and thickened. Check the pie after 20 minutes; if the crust appears to be browning too fast, place some tin foil over top. Let cool completely on rack before serving (this allows the filling to set up a bit before you cut into it).