Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day!

Today's adventure was making pie for "Pi Day." For the uninitiated, it's Pi Day because March 14th = 3/14 = 3.14. Yes, har har. It's a dumb joke, but you might have guessed by now those are my favorite kind. ;) I hadn't planned on baking anything when I woke up today (nor did I realize it was 3/14 until I saw someone post about it on Facebook), but after some discussion and crowdsourcing for filling ideas, I went out and bought pie supplies.

This was actually my first time ever making a cherry pie. I've made a few apple pies, cobblers, dozens of cheesecakes, some fruit tarts, pecan pies, even a french toast pie... but for some reason never cherry. So I looked at a couple recipes online to get the jist of it. 99% of the time I use an all-butter pastry dough like this one, which tastes good, but the one thing I'd do differently next time is make slightly more dough and roll it out thicker. As for the filling, I've always thought the bourbon-cherry combo works well in mixed drinks, so I decided to add a splash. Here's exactly what I did:

Cherry Pi Filling

  • approx. 2 1/2 lbs. cherries (w/o stems or pits)
  • 1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp corn starch
  • a shot of bourbon

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Notes: 1. Prepare and chill the dough first. 2. I used frozen cherries because fresh ones won't be available until May, but definitely use fresh tart cherries if you can.

To start the filling, put the cherries in a pot over low heat to get the juice out. This took me about 8 minutes, but your stove top's mileage may vary. Remove from heat, then add the sugar and stir to combine. In a separate small bowl, combine the corn starch with a few tbsp of water (this helps it to evenly combine), then stir into the cherries. Place back on the stove over medium heat and add the splash of bourbon (I honestly didn't measure, but I think I added about a shot- if you're not sure it's best to taste it!). Simmer on medium heat until the filling thickens up, then remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes.

I let my dough chill for an hour while I was preparing and cooling the filling, then rolled it out on a floured countertop. The first half I laid in the glass pie tray, added the cooled cherry filling, then rolled out the top dough layer and cut a pi symbol into the center. To fit that on top of the pie, I rolled up the dough around my rolling pin and rolled it back out over the top of the pie like the instructor in this video.

Bake the pie for 45 minutes, and cool for an hour before cutting and serving.

Overall, really tasty for a first attempt. The filling is really good, and the crust tastes buttery and wonderful, I only wish it was a little thicker to balance out the filling. Enjoy. :)