A few weeks ago, Boyfriend’s parents spoiled us all by inviting the whole troop to accompany them down the country to a lovely home they’d rented out in Kerry for two weeks. I’m working on an upcoming post about our trip, but basically it promised to be a place in which we could entirely unwind & spend some QT with Boyfriend’s family. It was pretty much a no-brainer. I booked the time off work, we filled the car with clothes & shoes for all types of weather, we planned our route for the journey ahead, & I started to compile a small list of what baked goods I should bring. I wanted to have a decent variety, so I figured I could make a pie, a tart, bars of some sort, and also sausage rolls for good measure. For some unknown reason, as soon as the word pie popped into my mind, I immediately knew it had to be cherry, end of discussion. I’d never made a cherry pie before in my lifetime, but I was somehow craving the cherry pie I knew my hands would be capable of making.
The decision to make a cherry pie was so final in my head that not even the ludicrous price of the cherries could deter me. When I made this pie we were knee-deep in those extremely irritating few weeks of the summer season when cherries aren’t realllly in season yet & cost more than all the rest of your shopping put together. There was no alternative: I didn’t want to make anything else, it had to be cherry. Of course, this didn’t stop me having an internal price argument while I gathered the rest of my shopping, but the thought of a bubbling freshly baked cherry pie kept me on track. There was also the cashier at the checkout who tried to convince me to wait to buy the cherries & bake my pie the next week, by which time the prices would be dropping. I kindly told him thank you, but no thank you, that this is going to be the best cherry pie ever & that it would be worth it. Thankfully (for you), cherry season is finally in full swing, so you won’t have to have any heart-to-heart moments with your cashier (which, quite frankly, I am very jealous about).
Now, because I had also committed to baking several other things, I had to plan the whole pie baking process out ahead of time. Which basically meant that I did a whole load of tiny steps over the course of two days, and then on the third day I finally baked the pie. (Which also means that this pie has overtaken my Peach Pie in the race to have the Flakiest Pie Crust Ever.) But really, how easy is that? A three day process that works around your schedule & goes roughly like this: 1) make pie dough & leave in the fridge overnight, 2) fit pie dough into pie dish & leave in the fridge overnight, and also pit the humongous pile of cherries straight into your weighing scales, cover with film, and leave in the fridge overnight, 3) put the pie together & bake until bubbling & brown in all the right places. Told you it was easy.
As for taste, it is a long summer evening in a pie. Deliciously juicy cherries, heightened ever so slightly by a good squeeze of lemon juice & a touch of sugar, but otherwise left nearly completely to shine alone. Also, it turns out that the sheer level of pre-baking refrigeration (& the small bit of freezing) made for a perfectly out-of-this-world kind of flaky pie crust. Added bonus: Boyfriend’s family loved it.
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 340g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 255g unsalted butter, very cold & cut into small cubes
- 4-6 tablespoons of ice water (I only used 4)
- 900g pitted fresh cherries
- 5 tablespoons cornflour
- 130g granulated sugar
- juice from ½ a lemon
- 1 egg, beaten
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- First, we make the pie dough. Whisk together the flour & salt in a large bowl. Working quickly, add the butter to the flour & toss it around. Use your fingers to press each cube of butter into a flat sheet. Keep tossing the butter to make sure each piece is covered in flour. Yossy says that if at any time the butter seems warm, then refrigerate the bowl briefly (& in Yossy we trust, so do it). Sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of ice water into the bowl & use a gentle hand to stir together until just combined. You’ve added enough water to the mixture if you can pick up a handful of the dough & easily squeeze it together without it falling apart, but without it being all sticky. Split the dough into two disks, each wrapped in cling film & leave to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using. (Remember, we need to keep the dough extra chilled if we want it to be extra flaky.)
- Once the dough has chilled, remove one of the disks from the fridge & on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a roughly 12-inch circle that is about ¼-inch thick. Carefully press the dough into your pie dish/tart tin & store in the fridge while you prepared the filling. (Think of the flakes.) (FYI: I fit one of the disks into my pie dish & left it to chill in the fridge overnight, ensuring that it was stone cold. I rolled the second disk into a circle & left on a sheet pan for perhaps an hour before filling & assembling my pie.)
- Remove the second disk from the fridge & roll out into a circle roughly 12-inches. Place on a sheet pan & leave to chill in the fridge.
- Now, the filling. In a large bowl, gently stir together the cherries, granulated sugar, cornflour, almond extract & lemon juice.
- Fill the prepared pie shell with the filling & cover with the second prepared crust (or make into a lattice topping – I watched a tutorial on YouTube). Crimp the edges together, and leave to chill in the fridge until ready to bake (I left mine in the fridge pre-made and unbaked for 8 hours while I was at work).
- Preheat the oven to 200C. While the oven heats up, slide the whole pie into the freezer for at least 15-minutes, & think of it as a necessary step to pie success.
- When ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with some demerara sugar before baking for 40-50 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling & the crust is a deep golden brown.
- Leave the pie to cool & serve warm with some lightly whipped cream.