Make a 'damn fine' cherry pie!Copyright by Karim Ghantous 2000
Ever wondered 'where pies go when they die'? Okay, so it doesn't make much sense, but you have to hand it to Dale Cooper's way of describing things. Anyway, here you're going to find out exactly why this dessert was loved so much by our favourite special agent.
Below the recipe for the pie you'll see one for a sweet short pastry. You can buy it frozen if you prefer. You might even have your own recipe. Anyway, don't forget to make enough for the base plus the top. Oh, last but not least: serving suggestions will follow the recipe and baking instructions...
- 20 ounces (or 560g) of cherries
- 235ml sugar
- 80ml plain flour
- 0.5ml salt
- 30ml butter
- 1.5ml almond essence
- Before or during the preparation of the cherry mixture, pre-bake a pie crust base. Line your pie dish with it and bake it for 10-15min at 200°.
- Put aside one cup of liquid from the jars or cans of cherries. Put the flour, salt and sugar in a relatively large saucepan and gradually add in the cherry liquid. Keep stirring gently until it boils, then simmer the mixture until it thickens - around five minutes.
- Add the other ingredients - including the cherries! - and stir until the butter has melted and the cherries well mixed in the sauce. Leave the mixture to cool down for a while.
- From now you might want to preheat the oven to 220°C, depending on how long you want the cherries to cool down.
- When you're ready, pour the cherry mixture into the pre-baked crust. Cover with the other half of the pastry and cut a few holes in it so the mixture doesn't burst out the edges. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
Sweet short pastry
- 235g unsalted butter
- 45ml white sugar
- 700ml plain flour
- 80ml water
- Combine the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Place the softened butter into the bowl. Rub in the butter into the flour and sugar with fingers.
- Add the water. Knead the dough until it is cohesive (no longer crumbles). This might take a while. Divide the dough into two parts. Flatten each part into a disc and chill 45 minutes before rolling.
- Each part makes pie crust - for the cherry pie, one part is for the base and the other for the top.
The first time you make this heavenly pie, use either white or caster sugar. With these, you'll have no problems because the results you get will be consistent. But once you're confident with your first pie, try brown or dark brown sugar instead. This is the healthiest type of sugar you can get off the shelf. It has all the fibre and nutrients that nature gave it. White sugar is completely stripped of these elements, and is just crystalized sucrose.
You may find that you might need a few more cherries than what the recipe calls for, especially if your dish is a bit wider than usual. As long as you don't put too many extra, you don't really need to modify the recipe otherwise. And you might find the cooking temperature too high, so if your pastry is burning at the edges reduce the heat and extend the cooking time.
Now if you've baked it successfully you're ready to dig in. But no food worth eating should be served without the due attention it deserves. There are several aspects which you should consider. You must decide what drinks you will offer, what type of crockery to serve it on and the table setting.
Let's not beat around the bush. Pretty much the only drink you'll be serving with cherry pie is coffee. Whatever type it is, it must be freshly brewed and filtered. If it's possible grind the coffee beans yourself. For sweetening, again, use brown or dark brown sugar. Either that or the sugars made especially for coffee. Offer cream and any type of milk that you like.
Beautiful pie deserves beautiful crockery. There are many nice styles to choose from. Plain white is always a good choice because it shows up the food and is relaxing to the eye. Use china if possible; otherwise use the nicest tableware you have. You don't need silverware, but use nice cutlery that doesn't look like it's used to serve the cat's food. The same of course applies to the coffee cups and saucers.
However you manage to organize good crockery and tableware, you have to find a table to put it on. Most of the time you might be in the family room and therefore using a coffee or side table. Or you might be in the kitchen, using the benchtop. In cases like those you aren't going to be worried about table cloths and serviettes (that's 'napkins' in the USA).
If you are serving on a dining table, try to have a neutral material. White is ideal. Mildly embroidered cloths can look even better. Although the serviettes should either match or complement the table cloth, they don't need to match the pattern if they have one. Otherwise an uncovered wooden table looks just as nice.
The most important thing of course is to eat, drink and be merry. However you set your table or serve your coffee, what matters in the end is that you make a perfect cherry pie. If you want to know how to make real coffee, read my coffee page (coming soon...). While you're at it, you might want to visit my toast and tea pages, too (both of those coming soon, too...).
When you have successfully made your pie, I'd like to know how you went and what thoughts you had about the pie.Back home