Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July Cherry Pie

This year, we were invited down to Keuka Lake where friends have a cottage. The cottage is a charming little house, right on the lake. Even though we were having a scorching hot day (at least what passes for that in Rochester), the breeze off the lake was wonderful. We were all invited to bring a dish to pass, and our hosts provided roast turkey and veg enchiladas. Those might seem like rather odd Fourth of July foods, but since both are native to this continent, I think they were actually spot on! The enchiladas weren't like any I have ever eaten, but they were good just the same.

We also took a bouquet
J and I chose to make pies -- which are kind of our specialty. We have made a lot of apple pies together, and it is soothing to work side by side at something we have done so many times. We decided to make cherry this time, because cherries are in season now, and you can get good local ones. I got up early on Saturday and went down to the city market and scored us 4 pounds of nice local sweet cherries. At noon, yesterday, we set to pitting them. J had done some internet research, to try to determine the easiest way to go about it. But we ended up both working with our little paring knives, cutting the cherries in half and then prying the stone out with the knife. Kind of brute force, but it got the job done. Thirty minutes later we had 8 cups of cherries ready to be employed.

Cherry Pie, strusel topping!
I make the shopping list every week, and J does the shopping, so it was my fault that we only had half as much pie crust as we needed yesterday. Yes, me, the queen of all things homemade, uses roll out pie crust. Well, I'll tell you: I'm no good at making a pie crust, so I take the easy way out. So I found myself short of a 2 crusts. We decided to go with a struesel topping this time, and it was a great choice. Easy to make, too -- I just dumped flour, sugar and a stick of butter in the food processor and pulsed a few times. Pour it on top of the pie, and there you go - pie done. The strusel topping got good reviews, too. I usually make a latice top, and although they look nice and impress some people, they aren't as tasty as that struesel topping.

Cherry Pie with Struesel Topping

Cherry Filling

4 cups of fresh pitted cherries. I used sweet because that's what we had. But sour would be ok. just be sure to taste and adjust the sugar as needed.
1/3 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour. I know most recipes online call for tapioca, but I didn't have any and this is what my Betty Crocker cookbook calls for. So there.

1 bottom pie crust, rolled out and place in a pie plate

Strusel Topping

Brown sugar
1 stick butter. Yes, butter.

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix the cherries, white sugar, vanila and 1/2 cup of flour. Pour it into the prepared pie shell.
3. Put the ingredients for the strusel topping into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a half dozen times until the mixture looks like course meal. Pour the topping on the pie, making sure it is fairly evenly distributed.
4. Bake for 45 minutes,  until the filling is bubbling. Enjoy!