“Sane people never pass up good pie.”
Remember this when you are selecting the friends you keep, future spouses for your children, or the next people to invite to a party. The holidays seem to get the best of most people, but a little pie helps reset the maniacal, heal the hurting and spreads joy and cheer to all that savor a slice.
Things on the farm are getting interesting again as we prepare to farrow litters for next year’s show and butcher season. This week we sent a few select animals to the locker and have been honing our Homemade Bacon recipe. Bacon is a serious competitor of pie in the happiness department.
Between eating bacon, selecting an impossibly large Christmas tree and keeping all of our sows happy, there’s not much time for anything else.
This time of year I spend time thinking of those who are struggling. If you know these people, please bake them this pie because pie heals, even if just for a moment. If you are this person, I’m here.
Fruit pies are back “in” style and there are a few things to remember when baking them.
- Mix it up: If you are making an apple pie, use 3 types of apples. One tart, one sweet and one in between.
- Don’t wreck your crust: If you are preparing a cooked filling, let the filling cool prior to filling your pie. If you don’t do this, your HOT filling will melt the fat in your crust and it won’t steam in the hot oven and to the flakiness of your pie.
- Rest: Allow 4 hours for your fruit pie to rest to achieve proper “set”.
3 cups frozen tart/sour cherries, thawed, strained and very gently pressed of juices
1 1/2 cups dark sweet cherries, thawed, strained and very gently pressed of juices
1 cup of reserved cherry juice (reserve juice and add water if need be to make 1 C)
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons instant tapioca pearls
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons butter
Pastry for two crust pie (see below)
Thaw cherries. Reserve juice. Set cherries aside. Place cherry juice, sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan over medium heat. Cook until juice is clear. Cool slightly, add cherries. Cool to lukewarm. Fold in tapioca. Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Dot top of filling 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 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup butter or lard, frozen or well chilled, cubed into half inch cubes (or half cup of each!)
1 tablespoon vinegar (apple cider or white)
1/2 + cup ice water (more or less depending on humidity in your region)
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.
Preheat oven to 400 F. When ready to roll crusts: Remove from refrigerator, remove plastic. Generously flour workspace, roll crust out to 13-14” disks. Place one 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.) Basket weave lattice crust on top of filling. 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/lattice in pie.