Hands up – who still has turkey? Yep, I’m with you, sista. Even though we got a small bird (11.5 lbs), and we’ve been eating turkey steadily since Thursday, there is a lot left. We don’t eat a lot of meat in general, so at 3 to 4 ounces at a time… well, it’s going to take a while. I’m going to have to make a turkey soup, or chili, or pot pie, or something (I know – shocking revelations at Local Kitchen today: we have turkey leftovers! Need to do something with them! Film @ 11!). But, hands up – who still has pie? Ah, therein lies the rub. The pie is long gone, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, turkey is delicious, but pie is just so versatile. Pie for dessert. Pie for breakfast. Pie for a mid-afternoon tea break. Before you know it, you’re picking crumbs of pastry out of an empty pie dish, wondering how it went so fast. But here’s the thing: you can make more.
This, ladies & gentlemen, is a show-stopper pie: hand-picked organic cherries, pickled in brandy for over a year, a flaky, gorgeous, cream cheese crust made with local whole wheat pastry flour and homemade cultured butter, and not much else. These ingredients practically sing, and make for a pie that is, in a word, spectacular. Yet, despite the fabulous ingredients and fancy lattice, this pie is relatively simple to make: if you have pastry dough in the freezer and pickled fruit in the pantry, this pie will come together quite quickly, and disappear, delicious bite by bite, even more quickly. Leaving you to wonder why you didn’t pickle more fruit in booze. Next year, my friends. Next year.
- 1 recipe Rose’s cream cheese pie crust
- 2 pints drunken cherries
- 1/2 cup sugar (organic turbinado)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- pinch salt
- Make & shape dough. Make pastry dough and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, prior to rolling. Roll a bottom crust and shape into a 9-inch pie pan. Shape leaves, using a cookie cutter or cutting them by hand with a sharp knife; score the ‘veins’ with a sharp knife and lay the leaves on a plate or small tray. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- Prepare filling. Drain cherries, reserving juice. In a medium bowl, mix sugar & cornstarch, add the drained cherries, lemon juice and salt, and macerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (400 F convection; convection works beautifully on pastry if you have one).
- In a small saucepan,bring cherry/brandy juice from the jars to a boil over high heat (watch for foaming) and continue to boil, reducing until syrupy, about 10 – 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Par-bake leaf lattice. Crumple a large sheet of aluminum foil into another pie dish (or oven-safe plate, baking tray, etc.). Spritz foil with baking spray. Remove pastry leaves from the refrigerator and drape over the crumpled foil, such that the leaves will look curled and natural (like they just fell off the tree and onto your pie) when baked. Par-bake the leaves, in the preheated 425 degree F oven, for about 5 – 10 minutes, or just until they set and the edges begin to slightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before attempting to remove from the foil (or you will end up breaking several, like I did).
- Fill the pie. Drain macerated cherries; add juice to reduced cherry/brandy syrup and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and becomes clear. Scrape into bowl with the drained cherries; mix well and pour filling into prepared pie shell.
- Bake pie at 425 degrees F (400 F convection) until filling is thickly bubbling, about 1 hour. Cover entire pie with a large piece of foil with a vent hole cut into the middle, to protect the leaves and crust from over-browning. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (I turn off convection at this point, but if using a convection-only oven, go to 325 degree F) if crust begins to brown too much. Cool on a rack for at least 3 hours before slicing.
- I do believe that this recipe is easily adapted to any fruit preserved in booze. Cherries do not contain a lot of natural pectin, yet the set of this pie was beautifully sliceable; if using preserved apples, quince or other high-pectin fruit, you may want to cut back on the cornstarch in the filling. Otherwise, just follow the instructions above with your preserved fruit.
- Obviously, the fancy leaf lattice is optional. You can make a simple dot lattice with circular cookie cutters, or a traditional basket weave lattice with strips of dough (for this, you’ll need about 1 and 1/2 recipes of Rose’s pastry dough), or no top crust at all. Or, consider using a decorative cookie cutter that you have on hand: snowmen, stars, teddy bears, dinosaurs. Rock the cookie cutters!
- So, you didn’t preserve any fruit in booze this year (oh, the horror! Wait – neither did I. Damn.) Well, this is the best cherries-in-brandy option I could find online: and at $30 a jar, it would definitely be a ‘fancy’ pie! Next summer I’m putting up a lot of cherries in booze.
At room temperature, covered with a clean kitchen towel, for up to 5 days.
Pie season! With preserved cherries, this pie can be made year round.