This pie is delicious, my kids absolutely loved it.
The pie crust is probably my all time favourite pie crust. It is buttery, crisp, crumbly and flaky, it is a great shortcrust pastry, just so good. I like to vary my pie crusts so not every pie tastes the same, but this is the best one. It is easy to make, all in a food processor, but if you don't have one, just cut the butter in by hand, using fingertips or use a pastry cutter.
The filling was lovely, each cherry still had texture, but they were baked perfectly. The lemon and vanilla added a lovely flavour. I don't add kirsch, as I don't love it, but if you do, add it.
I liked my pie crust sweeter, so I added two tablespoons of sugar.
Only add enough water into the pastry dough to get it to just stick together. When pressed between your fingers it should stick together, not feel dry.
This recipe uses US measuring cups and spoons, they are available everywhere these days. But if you don't have them US 1 cup = 236ml and US 1 tablespoon = 15ml. But in all honesty my favourite way to measure things is in grams or millilitres, that leaves no room for error, so buy a set of scales and this is the best way to bake.
This is a perfect pie to make when cherries are in season and you have a few hours to spend baking with or for you family and friends.
Makes 1 pie
2½ cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons caster sugar
227 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
¼ – ½ cup (60-120 ml) very cold water
5 cups stemmed and pitted fresh dark sweet cherries (that's about 850g whole unpitted cherries)
¾ cup (150 g) caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest from ½ lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Kirsch, optional-I did not add it
2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, cut into mini cubes
Milk, for brushing the top crust
Raw or caster sugar, for sprinkling
Make the Pie Crust:
Process flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor for a few seconds until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. Add ¼ cup water and keep pulsing, adding more water as needed, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough isn’t dry and starts to clump together. Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed, rather the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. It should come together easily without being sticky. Divide ball into two pieces, 2/3 (base dough) and 1/3 (top dough) and, then flatten each one slightly with your hands to form a 2.5cm thick disc. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before proceeding with your pie recipe.
Filling and assembling:
Roll out the dough: Take the larger disc of dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. Place the dough between two large sheets of baking paper. Roll the dough out into a 30cm circle. Place the dough gently into a 22cm pie pan; I use the baking paper here as an aid and flip the pastry in gently. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan, add scraps to top dough. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Roll out the other disc in the same fashion, it needs to be large enough to cover the entire pie, then transfer to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Make the cherry filling: In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, cornflour, and salt. Stir in cherries. Add lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, and Kirsch, if using and mix to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan forced.
Spread cherry filling in an even layer onto pie crust, and dot with butter on top. If you choose to make a lattice pie, make the pattern now. Otherwise, place the second crust over the filling. Tuck any excess overhang pastry under the bottom crust, then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. If not doing lattice, make 4 slits in the centre to let steam escape while baking. Brush the crust with a thin coating of milk, then sprinkle with sugar.
Allow pie to cool for at least 4 hours before serving so that the filling can set. Store pie in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
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