22 September 2010

Oh My God Cherry Pie

I know it's a little late in the year for cherry pie, but this one is too good not to write about! I made it for a friend's birthday last month, and it was truly amazing. It's no ordinary cherry pie!

6 cups of pitted sweet cherries
1 cup of hazelnuts
1/2 cup of sugar
1 scant teaspoon each of cardamom and cloves
10 oz. goat cheese
2 heaping tablespoons of cornstarch
1 double-crust pie dough

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly toast the hazelnuts, then use a kitchen towel to rub off any loose skins. Chop them up!

In a bowl, combine the cherries, nuts, sugar, spices, and corn starch. Crumble the goat cheese with your fingers and stir it all together. Taste it to make sure the sugar level is to your liking. The spices might seem a little intense, but don't worry - it'll mellow out in the oven and turn out just right.

Generously grease a pie dish, and roll out your pie dough. I always use Cook's Illustrated vodka pie crust, but use whatever kind you like. Spoon in your incredible cherry filling until you think the pie can't take anymore. Roll out the top crust, cut any shapes into it you like (or do a lattice!), and carefully place it on top. Pinch your edges together, then trim off the excess dough with a butter knife.

If you have a lot of leftover filling and crust, like I did, you can make a bonus pie! Smoosh all your dough scraps together, and roll it out. You don't have to make it very thin or nicely shaped, unless you want to. Grease the bottom of a baking dish and put your dough in there. Pile up all your extra filling on one half of the dough, then fold the other half over and pinch it shut, like a cherry calzone. I suppose this is technically a large turnover, but whatever. Cut a slit or two in the top so that steam can escape, and it is ready to bake alongside your primary pie. Hooray!

Bake your pie (or pies!) at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking until the crust is golden brown - usually another 40 minutes or so. It won't get all bubbly, but the cheese will be melty. Mmmmmm.

This is the really hard part - you have to wait before cutting into the pie! I know you want to eat it RIGHT NOW, but if you cut it open there will be mushy gooey pie guts everywhere getting your crust all soggy. It will still be delicious, but it will be better if you wait 45 minutes. Think of it as an exercise in self-control.

I used fresh cherries that were very sweet, hence the small amount of sugar. If your cherries are tart, you may want to increase the sugar content, though of course it depends on how sweet or tart you want your pie to be. I have no idea how it would turn out with frozen cherries. If you try it, I would love to hear how it tasted! I may want to have this pie again in the winter, so if I make it with frozen fruit I will report back here.

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