9.1.2010

Cheddar Crusted Cherry Pie

Last weekend, I made a special pie for a pie contest at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island:

Cheddar Crusted Cherry Pie!

Since cherry season was nearly over [when I made the pie], I’d thought I’d honor American cuisine by using the last cherries of the year and also incorporate good ol’ cheddar cheese into the crust.

Cherry season is technically over now but you can still find frozen cherries at the grocery store. I would thaw it out before making the pie filling. Frozen cherries will save you time because you won’t have to pit the cherries — most frozen cherries do not have pits. I would not bake out of season produce though: the frozen stuff you have access to just doesn’t taste as good as the fresh stuff and it’s especially bad for the environment. If you make the decision to stay seasonal, use baking apples instead of cherries, especially in the fall. The combination with the cheddar crust is phenomenal since cheddar and apples are a classic pair. Just remember to peel, core and dice the apples into small chunks.

For a 9” pie:

Pastry:

  • 2 1/2 c, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt¬†
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 1 egg (to brush the pastry/egg wash)

Filling:

  • 4 c. Bing cherries
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the cheddar crust, mix together the flour, salt and sugar. Using your hands, mix in the pieces of butter until the crust begins to look a little mealy- add a little bit of water and mix. Add the rest of the water, and mix it again. Fold in the cheddar cheese and set the pastry aside in the refrigerator.

To make the fillings, pull out the stems from the fresh cherries. Now it’s time to pit the fresh cherries! If you don’t have a cherry pitter, a way to remove the pit is to use a pastry tip, insert it to where the stem use to be:

Gently hold the sides of the cherry with your other hand, and push the pit out carefully. If you don’t have a pastry tip, you can pit it with a paper clip (C’mon! You’ve gotta have a paper clip laying around). When you’re pitting the cherries, place the pitted cherries in a medium sized mixing bowl. Once all of the cherries are pitted, gently stir in the sugar, cornstarch and vanilla extract; Set aside.


Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the cheddar pastry dough from the refrigerator and roll it out half of the dough on an clean, unfloured surface with a rolling pin. Gently lay the smooth pastry over a 9” pie dish. Pour the filling in. Roll out the other half of the dough — there is enough to completely cover the pie but for the pie I made in the picture, I used a large cookie cutter to cut out shapes instead of covering it or making a lattice.

 Once the top of the pie is covered with pastry, brush the pastry with an egg wash (a large beaten egg) so the pie browns and shines when it is done baking. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until the pastry is golden brown. Let it cool and settle.

As for the pie contest, I had honorable mention. The winner made a bacon and apple pie. As a note to y’all: incorporate bacon into every baking/cooking contest because people are still crazy about it. Even if your apples were a bit overcooked, no one will notice as long as the bacon is there.

Pfft…Am I bitter about it? Nope. Not at all.

[Seriously: I’m not.]

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