7/27/14

Cheery Cherry Pie

Yesterday I went to the Portland Farmer's Market with my dear daughter-in-law, Mae. Erik had to work, but we were nice and took him a lox and bagel sandwich when we finished up. It gave me an opportunity to give him a "flash hug", which I give to my kids at every opportunity. We are a family of huggers. You could do a lot worse.

Anyway...I was on the hunt for pie cherries. I'm glad we went yesterday because I just about missed them. They can be hard to find because they have a short season. As it turns out, ours ripened about two weeks early this year. On our last trip to the farmer's market, we were too early. And now, just about a month later, we were almost too late. Nevertheless, my hunting and gathering excursion yesterday was a success!


Today's kitchen caper was to bake a cherry pie. Recall that I was going to try to make the spiral crust a la Martha Stewart. Here's Martha's version:


Martha didn't give any recipe with her picture...just a little two-step instruction on how to do it. I figured I could use the same crust I use for lattice-top, thinking it would want to be the same sort of structure, and so I used the recipe I always use from Baking Illustrated.


Only...I do mine even easier than they do because I do the whole thing in my food processor. I just keep sprinkling ice water over it until it comes together, and it works fine. A while back, I did a little tutorial about lattice-top pie crusts. You can see how I make the crust right here

So anyway...my crust was unusually cooperative, which makes my cherry pie a "cheery" one. With a lattice-top, I usually cut the strips 1 1/2 inches wide. For this one, I cut them 1/2-inch wide. Then you just start in the center, twisting, and wrapping...


until you have the whole top of the pie covered.


Then, I brushed the outer edge of the bottom crust with an egg wash made from an egg beaten with a healthy pinch of salt, and then I stuck another curl of dough around the outer edge. Then, I brushed the whole top with egg wash. Then, I baked it. 

So what do you think? Does mine look like Martha's?


This was super easy...it was a whole lot easier than a lattice top.

And I'll be linking this post to:



Several of you have said you don't do pie crust. I mentioned this in the tutorial I linked to above, but it's worth repeating for those of you who avoid pie crust out of fear. Here's the thing. If you're pie crust phobic, you're not alone.  Russ Parsons, in his food science book, How to Read a French Fry,



aptly pointed out that:

[I]t is precisely because we make pie crusts so rarely that they have the power to inspire dread disproportionate to their actual difficulty.  A pie crust ain't nothin' but flour, fat and water, right? That, of course, is disingenuous.  It is because the ingredients are so basic that pie crusts are so difficult.  They are almost totally dependent on technique, and technique is not something that you can pick up on a quick trip to the grocery store.  The only way to learn how to make a good pie crust is to make enough bad ones that you finally acquire both an understanding and a feel for how a good one is made. (emphasis mine)

I made my first pie crust in approximately 1978. It was a colossal failure, and it was approximately 25 years (no exaggeration) before I gave it another try.

So...do you want to make a pie crust? Maybe you don't. But if you do, then just try it! Feel the fear. Do it anyway. Really...what's the worst that can happen? Pie crust is very forgiving. If it falls apart, just stick it back together like play-doh. And if it's tough, so what? Who cares? It's going to taste fantastic anyway. Just put lots of ice cream on it, and call it good. And finally, as with so many things, if you avoid making it because you are afraid of messing up, you'll be depriving yourself of the one and only way you'll have to learn to make a good crust every time.

I'm no pastry chef, and I've made plenty of bad pie crusts. But I've never made one that was absolutely inedible. My pies can be beautiful, or they can be a mess. Either way, they always get eaten to the very last fork full. Here's my parting advice to anyone who secretly yearns to make a pie crust, but is afraid to try: Use lots of flour. When it comes to pie crust, flour is your friend. Sprinkle it liberally on your work surface. Roll your rolling pin in it and sprinkle it generously over the top of the crust as you roll. If it starts to stick, use more flour. Even if it ends up tough, it will get eaten. I promise.

So my other quest at the farmer's market was to find some nice zucchini to make zucchini relish. That will be for tomorrow's kitchen caper, however.


Today I'm hoping to finish quilting "Where Angels Walk". I'm quilting it in a grid, and yesterday I finished all the horizontal quilting. Today I'm hoping to finish the vertical quilting. It's not turning out as beautifully as I'd hoped. There are no puckers or pleats, but it's looking more like a tied quilt to me. There's nothing wrong with tied quilts. It's just not the look I was going for. I'm thinking that it should be washed after it's bound and then it will take on a nice puffy appearance.

My conclusion about this is that I should really stick with my rule about not quilting anything too large for me to sandwich on my ping pong table. The Sharon Schamber method worked well enough, but the quilt is really to large for either me or Big Bertha to handle comfortably. Next time I do a quilt this large, it'll be going to the long armer. Besides...I really prefer spray basting. It just works better for me...or maybe I've just had more practice with it. Either way, I'm sticking with what works best.

So with that said, I'm off. But then, you already knew that, didn't you?

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

Jeanie said...

Move over Martha...there's a new crust maker in town! Looks gorgeous and yummy... nice job!

Christine M said...

Your pie looks very yummy, Barbara. I think it is a great success!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Probably a staff member actually made Martha's pie. It looks great and yummy. I'll still leave the baking to someone else - believe me, it's safer.

Lyndsey said...

Mmmmm that cherry pie looks yummy. I love making pie crusts. my favourite pies are apple and I used to make them a lot as dessert after Sunday lunch. My mother taught me to make the pastry when I was about 10 years old but now I tend to use my food processor as it speeds up the whole process.

Dasha said...

Not sure that pie looked like Martha's, but it sure looks good! It wouldn't last very long anywhere near me LOL

Michelle F said...

Your cherry Pie looks inviting

Siouxzq64@gmail.com said...

Your pie crust looks gorgeous!

Janarama said...

In my opinion, your pie puts Martha's to shame. Your pie looks great and I'm betting it's delicious too!

Judy H. said...

Another thought on pie crusts: it used to be that a woman wasn't considered a decent housewife, cook, etc. unless she could make a good pie crust. Darn it, you just couldn't call yourself a woman unless your pie crust was perfect. But, these women made pies a couple times a week! We only make them two or three times a year, but still think we should have perfect crusts! Not for me. I order my pie at restaurants -- or eat my Mom's pies at holidays. :)

Michele said...

The pie looks so yummy. I wish that my crew would eat cherry pie but alas apple is the typical favorite.

gpc said...

Your pie is beautiful. Martha's is nice and all, but yours looks like a rose. Love it and can't wait to try it on my next pie!

quiltzyx said...

Compared to your Cheery Cherry Rose Pie, Martha's crust looks almost burnt! Yours looks much, much tastier. Truly.

Sorry you're having such dissatisfaction with your quilting the larger quilt. I believe it's Jill Schumacher "Quiltmaker to the Queen" that uses the "fluff & stuff" method & quilts up to king-size quilts on her regular machine. I haven't tried it, but she makes it sound simple of course. I agree with you though, if it's going to give you stress, and you can afford it, quilting by checkbook is the way to go.

Ann Bassett said...

I love your attitude toward making pie crust. I completely agree with you. Make it, have fun, and serve it with pride.

Your cherry pie looks so yummy.

Kate said...

Your cherry pie looks great. Pie crust isn't so hard, I found a great set of instructions that helps you avoid the biggest pitfalls.

Sorry the quilting didn't turn out as expected. Hopefully you'll be pleased when is all done, bound and washed.

VickiT said...

Your pie looks good to me. Almost any pie, no matter what it looks like is still going to taste good. I've made some doozies in my years of baking pies.
One pie, and it was not my first one, I made for a nice dinner for a guy I liked a lot. I invited him to my parents home where he and I had a nice Italian dinner I had made. This was back in my Junior year of high school. I made lasagna, garlic bread, and his favorite, lemon meringue pie. I even bought those colored wax drip candles and my Mom and Dad drank the wine in one of those wine bottles that have the rounded bottom and are wrapped in twine. (Not sure if they even sell them now) and then I put the candle in the empty wine bottle so it would drip down over the bottle and got my Mom's red/white checkered tablecloth and good dishes out. Yes, it was a fancy meal. After that we went to a Junior/Senior dance. The dinner was just awesome............ UNTIL we got to the pie. I've made that same pie many times before and they were always perfect. This time? Not so much. We still laugh about it to this day as I still have contact with him as he was my older brother's best friend. The pie? Yea, we drank it through a straw, but the crust was still perfect. LOL

Btw - after you posted the picture of that pie the other day, I had to search and I found the instructions. If you want to take a peek, they are here
http://www.marthastewart.com/1074793/pinwheel-cherry-pie