I Can Not Tell A Lie
It is somewhat ironic that we associate cherry pie with George Washington and suggest baking one for Presidents’ Day, which is in the month of February each year. Why, you ask? Let me clarify this point.
Cherries are at their peak in North America during the month of June. Nowhere near February. I do not even remember seeing cherries back in February. It has been reported that President Washington said, “I can not tell a lie, I chopped down the Cherry tree.” When I did further digging, I read that this statement was never made by our first President.
What is true is that President Washington did love cherry pie, but we can pretty much bet money on the fact that he did not love it in February, when the ground was covered with snow and ice and things most definitely were not all that nice. Chances are Martha started whipping out cherry pies towards the end of May and through early July.
We do have some advantages that Martha did not. Whether he was President or not, I don’t think that I would have been willing to make George even so much as a single cherry pie without my handy dandy cherry pitter and disposable gloves that keep my hands from turning a lovely shade of red.
It took me several pies to figure out the technique that works best, which turned out to be wearing the gloves while pitting the cherries into a plastic bag. The juice and pits stay confined to the plastic bag and the pitted cherries just get put into a bowl. This takes a bit of time, but the delicious cherry pie at the end makes it worthwhile.
Once the pie is finished baking, be sure to let it sit for a while. I learned the hard way of course, that the juices will flow all over the place when serving the pie straight from the oven. I love eating Cherry Pie with vanilla ice cream and thought that the hot pie would be the way to go. Wrong. The vanilla ice cream complements the pie beautifully—–after the pie has cooled down.
Do you have to serve your Cherry Pie with ice cream? Absolutely not. Yet, from personal experience I can tell you that I have served the pie without ice cream, because I forgot to take it out of the freezer. That’s when good, honest friends told me that they loved the pie but thought it would be even better with some vanilla ice cream. There you have it…I can not tell a lie!
|Cherry Pie|| || |
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 5-6 tablespoons ice water
- 8 cups pitted cherries (just under 3 pounds of cherries with pits)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- For the crust:
- Combine the flour and sugar in a food processor. Pulse on/off to mix. Add the butter and pulse on/off until the butter is the size of baby peas. While using the pulse on/off button, add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix just until the dough becomes a ball. The dough should not be wet and sticky.
- Divide the ball into two, making one ball slightly larger than the other (bottom crust vs. top crust). Individually wrap the balls in a sheet of wax paper and form a disc shape with the dough. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 400º. Set aside 9” pie plate.
- For the filling:
- Gently combine all of the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside while rolling crusts.
- For the topping:
- Beat the egg yolk into the whipping cream and set aside.
- Roll out the larger dough, either on a lightly floured surface or between sheets of wax paper, so that it is large enough to fit into pie plate with a small overhang of pie crust that will be used to seal the top crust. Spray the pie plate with cooking spray (i.e. Pam) and transfer the dough to the plate. Roll out the second dough, large enough to cover the pie with an overhang to seal.
- Brush some of the topping mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie shell. Transfer the cherries to the shell, evenly distributing the flour/sugar/butter mixture that will be left in the bottom of the bowl.
- Top with the remaining rolled out dough and fold the top edges over the bottom crusts overhang and seal the two together. If there is a large amount of dough hanging down, cut the excess amount off so that the crust is even. Crimp or decorate the edges of the pie as desired.
- Brush the edges and top of the pie with the topping. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cut air vents into the top of the pie with a paring knife.
- Bake on a piece of aluminum foil (to catch any spills) at 400º for 60 minutes. Check the crust edges after 40 minutes as they will bake more quickly than the top. Cover the edges with foil if this happens to prevent the pie from having burnt edges. The pie juices will bubble up when it is done.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- I prefer to roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper so that I do not incorporate more flour into my dough.
- The easiest way to pit cherries is to wear disposable gloves, so your hands do not turn red, and pit the cherries directly into a gallon size plastic freezer bag.
- Even when using the cherry pitter, double check that the pit did come out. Sometimes the pits are not located directly in the middle and the pitter will not get them out.
- If you prefer a thicker pie, add 2-4 tablespoons tapioca to the filling.