3.14 (159265) {cherry pie}

Happy Pi day! I love the date and its mathy reference and of course, in honor of pi day, I made a cherry pie. Clever, huh? I certainly thought so. I’m sure no one else out there is doing precisely the same thing.

While that may not be true, is anyone giving you this timeless joke (can we call it that) from my father? “Hey Dad, I learned in school today that pi r squared. No son, everybody know that pie are round.” Classic. There are so many more where that came from but we’ll have to save those for other posts. This is just a tidbit of the sense of humor that I have inherited. He’s a veritable font of eye-rolling, rib-nudging, knee-slappery that I enjoy implementing whenever possible.

Back to today’s date and homage to Euclid and the golden mean and Donald Duck and other geometry videos.

I have been out of commission a lot lately between work and out of town guests and travel and the like and haven’t really cooked anything (worth sharing at least) lately. This pie barely makes the grade. The recipe is great (from the kitchen of mother-in-law) but the execution leaves something to be desired. I have never claimed to be patient and as a result, baking remains a bit of a challenge for me at times. This pie ain’t pretty. It belongs on the radio or in a blind taste test, but keeping things in perspective, it tastes damn good.

Here’s the gist:

  • 3 11-ounce cans pitted tart cherries, drained with liquid saved*
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup juice from cherries
  • pie crust**

* I just realized my pie was flat not only because I used a deep pie dish but also because I only used two cans of cherries. Why are any of you listening to my cooking advice?

** And yes, I buy pie crust. (I can’t even count cans of cherries.) I like Pillsbury brand – it comes in a box in the dairy section. You can always make a pie crust but you can also just lie.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Let’s start by blind baking the pie crust. This makes for a less-soggy bottom for your pie. Unroll a sheet of pie crust and press it into your pie pan (with a dash of flour in the bottom). Do not stretch the crust. It will shrink. Poke holes in the bottom of your crust with a fork and then grab your pie weights (or dry beans) and line the crust with foil, then weights.

Bake for 12-15 minutes and then pull out the foil and weights and bake for another 5 minutes. Be sure to watch to make sure your crust doesn’t puff up too much. It will resemble this.

I suggest placing the crust on a sheet pan and turning to the filling now. Let’s make cherry pie, friends. In a small saucepan, combine the cherry juice, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and cornstarch and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often.

After the mixture begins to bubble, give it another minute, stirring, and then add the remaining sugar, butter, almond extract and the cherries. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, or until the mixture is at the consistency you like.

Pour the filling into the crust (remember, it will be more full than this because unlike me, you can count to THREE) and “dot” with butter. I use large dots.

Seal up that sucker with the second pie crust in the convenient pack of two and cut a few slits in the top so steam can escape. I always think it’s harder to seal a pie crust when the bottom has been baked, but don’t give up. This is reason number two why my pie is so unattractive.

Now bake for 50-55 minutes. If you need to, and you probably will, make a foil “halo” to go around the outside of the pie around the edges so they don’t burn. This is a feat of physics if you can get it to stay on. After close to an hour, you’ll have a pie!

You should let it cool before you cut it so that it can set up. Yeah, I didn’t do that either.

If nothing else, feel confident in the fact that you can really maim this recipe and still end up with a tasty pie.

Can you imagine how awesome pi day is going to be in 2015? 3.14.15 – I can hardly wait!