Last year my husband and I had a great time in Door County, WI with my best friend Brandi and her husband Ron. We stayed at a beautiful resort and toured around the area for a few days together. Brandi and I scoured the area antique shops and the guys played along. We visited a charming little pie shop and had a fabulous pie. The most fun and interesting thing I discovered there (besides the pie, but food of course) were the most amazing tart cherries. WOW. They are fabulous and make a great pie. I purchased a huge container to take home and freeze for use throughout the year. It was a great idea and we’ve had delicious cherry pies, cherry braided bread, pork chops with cherry balsamic glaze (recipe coming I promise!) and other yummy cherry delights!
I hope we can make it to that area again soon. It is always great to take time away from the busy routine and go somewhere new and fun with friends. See you soon Ron and Brandi!
Door County Tart Cherry Pie
4 C frozen tart/sour cherries, thawed, strained and gently pressed of juices
1 C of reserved cherry juice (reserve juice and add water if need be to make 1 C)
1 1/3 C sugar
3 T corn starch
Dash of salt
2 T instant tapioca pearls
¼ tsp almond extract
2 TBSP butter
Pastry for two crust pie (see below)
Place cherry juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan over medium heat. Cook until juice is clear. Cool slightly, add cherries. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in tapioca. Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Dot with 2 TBSP butter. Cover with desired topping/crust. Crimp decoratively and vent decoratively. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350, continue baking for 40-50 minutes until you see slow bubbles of filling around sides or up through vents of pie. You may wrap an aluminum foil collar around the outside crust if the pie gets too brown during baking. (I wrap my foil collar before the pie goes into the oven, removing it for the last 15-20 minutes of baking.)
Lard or Butter Pie Pastry:
2 1/4 C All Purpose Flour or King Arthur Perfect Pastry Blend Flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 C unsalted butter or lard, frozen or well chilled, cubed into half inch cubes
1 whole egg or 2 egg yolks
1 TBSP vinegar (apple cider or white)
1/3-1/2 C ice water (this amount will change with the humidity in the air)
Combine dry ingredients, whisk well. Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form. Combine wet ingredients, add them to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. This mixture is ready when you can grab a portion of it in your palm, squeeze and it sticks together. Turn 1/2 mixture out onto plastic wrap, shape into a disk. Repeat with other half. Cover both with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. When ready to roll crusts: Remove from refrigerator, remove plastic. Generously flour workspace, roll crust out to 13-14” disks. Place in pie pan. Do not stretch. Patch any imperfections (holes, etc.) Fill pie carefully with filling of choice. (Not HOT filling, only lukewarm or cooler so you don’t melt the fat in the crust.) Fold crust under, crimp decoratively. Return to refrigerator or prepare pie immediately.
Freezing: Freeze prepared pie in an aluminum pie plate. Bake frozen pie at 400 for 30 minutes and 350 for an additional 50-70 minutes until juices are bubbling from vents in pie.