The sour cherries — or tart cherries, as they’re sometimes known — are early this year! Usually they start appearing this week or next and last just until about the Fourth of July. This year, they’re already at a farmers market near you.
Last year, I made a video during sour cherry season, where I show you my favorite sour cherry pie recipe, and my no-fail pie crust recipe. You’ll want to watch til at least the 5:10 mark, where I demonstrate and my very special method of pitting cherries. Oh, and the oven almost explodes, too. Good times.
Here’s the video again. I you enjoy it, and please — if you make the pie, comment here and let me know how it turned out! If you have questions, post them — I’m happy to help.
By the way, in the video, I misspoke, calling the almond extract cherry extract. No, it is indeed almond extract, like in the recipe, which you’ll find after the jump.
After the jump, the recipes for No-Fail Pie Crust and Sour Cherry Pie.
No-Fail Pie Crust
Adapted from Saveur magazine, which said it was their adaptation of a pie from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “The Pie and Pastry Bible” (Scribner, 1998).
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
9 tablespoons cold cream cheese
12 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ice water
Splash of milk
Sugar for sprinkling
Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces and put on a plate. Put the plate in the fridge. Place flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Use your fingers to pull chunks of cream cheese from the bar and throw into flour mixture. Pulse a couple of times until the mixture begins to resemble coarse meal. Add the cold butter to the bowl of the processor. Pulse until mixture is flecked with pea-sized pieces of butter. Sprinkle in vinegar and ice water, pulse a couple of more times. Pinch the mixture to see that it holds together. Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. It will not have come completely together yet. Quickly knead dough until smooth. Divide dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, flatten each into a disk and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
Roll larger dish onto a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch round, then ease into a 9-inch pie pan. Stir filling, then transfer to pastry. Roll remaining dough out into a 10-inch round. You may either cut into lattice or bake as a top crust. Beat egg with milk and brush over the top crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Sour Cherry Pie
1 recipe pie crust
4 cups sour cherries, washed, stemmed and pitted
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon butter, optional
Make the pie crust. Line a 9-inch pie pan with it.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine cherries, sugar, flour, almond extract, vanilla extract and vinegar in a bowl. Dot with butter, if you like. (I never do.)
Cover with a top crust and seal edges. Cut slits in the center to allow steam to escape. Brush it with the egg-milk mixture, if you like.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until pie filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown.
Yield: 1 pie.