Sour Cherry Pie for Cindy

“When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving towards perfection becomes clear:  to make people happy.  That’s what cooking is all about.”       -Thomas Keller                                                                         

Last weekend, we celebrated my friend Cindy’s fiftieth birthday. And she surprised her own surprise cocktail party! She walked into the hotel suite and two of my friends scurried away from the door like cockroaches while muttering, “Oh shit!”

I stood behind a pillar giggling.  We all hugged the laughing birthday girl, placed a drink in her hand, and took pictures. Before we went dancing, we lit the candles on her two sour cherry pies and serenaded her with a pitchy version of Happy Birthday.  We served the pie with scoops of lightly melted Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream on top.  Cindy enjoyed her favorite birthday treat that I tailor made for her. 

I’ve worked all winter on learning how to make pies and it was worth the effort to watch her smile!  I just updated her recipe so I don’t forget it for next year.  And I decided to share it here with you, just in case you want to try it.

New Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie
slightly tweaked from Melissa Clark
with David Lebovitz's butter pie crust

Butter Pie Dough 
 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes and chilled
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water

In your mixer bowl with the paddle attachment combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add in the butter and mix until the butter chunks are ¼ inch big.

Pour in the 7 tablespoons of water all at once and mix until the dough just starts to come together into a coarse dough.  Add one more tablespoons of water if needed. 

Pour the dough out onto a cutting board and cut it in half.  Press each piece into a one inch thick round disk and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.  They can also be frozen for up to two months.

I rolled out and shaped my pie shell crust.  Make sure to press the crust into the pan so it doesn’t slide down the sides of the pan. Then I froze it for 30 minutes to prevent the crust from shrinking. 

Then, I prebaked my pie shells at 375 degrees for twenty minutes with a piece of foil and pie weights (beans) inside. While the pie shells bake prepare the filling.  I removed the foil and weights and baked for 10 more minutes.   Then add the filling.

Sour Cherry Pie 
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant tapioca, pulverized into a fine flour in my vita-mix
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, heaping
2 pounds sour cherry cherries, pitted and unthawed
1 1/2 tablespoons kirsch
4 tablespoons heavy cream, divided in half
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
raw sugar, for sprinkling

Pulverize the tapioca in a vita-mix or coffee grinder.  Add the tapioca and cinnamon to the ¾ cup of sugar and stir together in a bowl.  Then combine the sugar mixture, cherries, kirsch, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of cream together.  Let sit while the crust bakes.
Roll out the remaining disc of pie dough and using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough.
Once the crust is ready add the cherry mixture into the crust.  Place the rounds of dough on top.  Brush the dough with the reserved 2 tablespoons of cream and sprinkle raw sugar on top of the pie. 
Place in oven and bake for 50 to sixty minutes.  Check on the pie after thirty minutes to see if the edges of the crust are browning too quickly.  Cover the edges of the crust with foil if necessary. Bake until the crust is dark and golden and the filling is burbling.  My pie took sixty minutes to bake. 
Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for 2 hours before serving.  Sing Happy Birthday to the birthday girl.  Then serve the pie with generous scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. 
Yield: 8 servings