Here comes Mother's Day and there's no better way to celebrate Mama's Day then to get together with family and good food. My addition to our Sunday's gathering is a sweet cherry pie. This recipe is for two pies.
5 Cups of Flour
4 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
2.5 Cups of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Tapioca
10 Cups of Semi-Thawed Frozen Cherries (If frozen, set a room temp. for 30 minutes)
A Hint of Fruity Liquor
A Hint of Almond Extract
A Bit of Water
9-inch Pie Pan
First make your base crust by:
Put all the flour into a big bowl and add a tablespoon of salt, take two cold sticks of butter and mash them into the flour. Break up the big chunks of butter into small chunks and push it into the flour, do this for about 5 minutes. Add the other two sticks in the mix and mash, mash, mash. Once you get a consistency that breaks up into pea-size chunks add a 1/4 cup of water. Instantly you'll see/feel the mix transform into a proper dough. Keep needing, punch it, hit it, slap it (Nannie sats keep your hands off the dough... use a food processor and limit hand contact with butter + flour because heat will change the texture of the stretched flour proteins (glutten). Slowly add a bit more water until you get a nice texture that's easy to play with and has a shine to it. Sometimes recipes call for you to put it in the fridge for several hours/days to make it more malleable. To keep the dough from sticking your hands use ice cold water.
Cut up the batch of dough into four big balls. Two of the balls will be the bottom crust, and the other ones are for creating the lattice crust on top of the filling. Create a clean work space and throw a bit of flour on it so the dough doesn't stick to the counter.
I forgot to take a picture of this step, but what you want to do is bake the bottom crust. Grab one of the four giant dough balls. Flip the 9-inch pie pan over just to get a sense of how big of a circle you need to roll the dough out to, make the dough circle about 2 inches bigger than the pie pan. Then put the crust into the pan. Fill in any holes that you may have made and make it as uniform as you can. Feness the outer rim of the crust by using a fork to make a cool design or use your fingers to make it wavy. A wavy rim helps trap the juices. Using a brush (or your fingers) rub a thin layer of egg white on the crust. This makes sure the crust isn't porous and doesn't absorb the filling, that will create sogginess. Throw the crust into the oven for about 10 minutes at 425 F. When you check 'er after 10 there may be a few bubbles, do the best you can to press them down, and put it back it for another 5. One way to not create bubbles is to cover the crust with foil and add something heavy to weigh it down onto the dough, and then bake it. You want the crust to feel slighty hard (pastry-like) and not be gooey.
While it's baking for that 10-15 minutes period, grab a bowl and mix: all the cherries, sugar, tapioca, and a just a hint of a liquor and almond extract. When the bottom crusts are baked and cooled, drop the oven temperature down to 325, and add the filling.
We wanted to give the pies a real homemade touch so we made a lattice top crust. Take one of the giant dough balls, break it up into 12-18 smaller balls. Roll the balls out into flattened strips like seen in the picture above. Then create a matrix with the strips like seen below. The way we did it was we took 5 strips and laid them across the filling equally spaced apart. We would pull up two or three strips and lay a strip horizontally across. Put the lifted strips down and then pull the other the other ones up and lay a horizontal strip down.
With any leftover dough touch up the rim of the crust to make it look presentable (i.e., use a fork to make a thatched design after filling any holes between the lattice strips and bottom crust). Here's Brittany perfecting the lattice.
Here I am adding a toothed design around the rim. We wanted to make the design look like shark teeth.
"She's My Sweet Cherry Pie" was rocking out in the background while we kept an eye on the beauties in the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the juice at the top of the filling becomes kind of jiggly and the crust is browned. Pull out and just let it cool.