Monday, July 9, 2012
It has been a few days now since my last post..ok a couple weeks if I'm being honest. I was on vacation in New Hampshire, relaxing by a lake, eating, drinking, and being merry. There is something about being unplugged from the world for awhile that is truly refreshing. It gets you back to center. Know what I mean? I highly recommend it.
This crostata was also quite rewarding. My culinary counterpart has been asking for a cherry pie for awhile now. A co-worker had told me about the cherry pitter she got and how much fun it was. Seriously, she wasn't kidding. A cherry pitter can relieve alot of tension. I highly recommend it. My pitter pits four cherries at once, making the job ridiculously easy and mess-free.
I decided to turn those plump, juicy, pitted cherries into a crostata. If you're scratching your head at the word crostata, don't be. Basically it's Italian for open-faced, free-form pie. It's a great introduction to pie-making if you're the word "pie crust" has you hiding behind your biggest kitchen bowl. It's a rustic looking dessert, which is another way of saying it doesn't have to look pretty! *Sigh*.
This recipe came from a newly purchased cookbook, Pie, by Ken Haedrich. I LOVE this book. If you love making pie, want to know more about making pie, or have that huge fear (I'm speaking to those that still haven't come out from that big bowl you have been hiding under) then get this book.
I decided to use the all butter pie crust recipe again. I had used the all butter crust recipe for the Nectarine Pie I had made recently and again another fabulous crust came out of it. I still want to try to make a crust with shortening and butter, just to compare. The all butter crust, though, for those of you squeamish of shortening still produces a light and flaky crust.
This crostata was a fairly simple dessert to throw together. So come out from under that bowl, roll up your sleeves, and get to pitting those cherries. Life can be stressful, and definitely is not perfect and neither should be your pies.
To print recipe, click here.
All Butter Pie Crust Recipe
**I have been making my crusts by hand, which can be more forgiving and also produce a flakier crust.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup cold water
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Toss well, by hand, to mix. Scatter butter over the dry ingredients and toss to mix. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the flour until it is broken into pieces the size of split peas. Sprinkle half of the water over the dry mixture. Toss well with a fork to dampen the mixture. Add the remaining water in two stages and continue to toss and mix, pulling the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl.
Test the dough by squeezing some of it between your fingers, if it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon or so of cold water over the dough and work it in with your fingertips. Using your hands, pack the dough into a ball. Knead once or twice, then flatten the ball into 3/4-inch-thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap the disks and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling.
Cherry Pie Filling
3 to 4 cups of cherries, pitted
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup sugar (you may need more depending on the sweetness of your cherries)
1/4 tsp. almond extract
juice of 1/2 orange
2 Tbs. of cornstarch
3 Tbs. of butter, cut into small chunks
1 Egg, beaten (mixed with a couple Tablespoons of water)
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Roll out your dough to a 12-inch circle. Put the ingredients in the center of your pie crust. Bring up the sides of your pie dough around the filling, leaving the center of the crostata exposed. Scatter the butter pieces on top of the filling. Brush the crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbling and crust edges are golden brown.