Monday, December 14, 2009

Birthday Pie

When my father read my blog for the first time he was fixated on the peach pie.  My dad absolutely loves pie.  The first words out of his mouth were "but you never make me pie!"  I explained that the peach pie had been my first and only attempt - but it was already done.  I had broken my father's heart.

His favorite pie is cherry.  So when his birthday came around, I decided that I should bake my father a birthday cake pie.

The last time I had baked I was at dear bf's male dwelling - so I had to make the pie crust by hand.  This time, at his mother's house...I had access to a HUGE cuisinart, and a real live rolling pin!  This pie was VERY easy by comparison. 

Rafe had gotten all the ingredients that I needed at the store on Friday - so as soon as I woke up Saturday morning I could get to work making pastry dough.  I got up early, made some coffee, put on some music and started working.  Dough in a cuisinart takes mere minutes!

We did run into one little snag...we could not find sour cherries anywhere!!  Rafe checked all of the grocery stores in his town and nothing.  I instructed him to just buy the only frozen cherries he could find and we'd figure something out....

Saturday morning after I made my pastry dough, I started my various internet searchs "can't find sour cherries", "substitutions for sour cherries", and so on.  Most of my searches had instructed to cut back on the sugar for sweet cherries, and add some lemon juice.  So that is exactly what I did.

Rolling out pastry dough was soooo much easier with a real rolling pin this time, too.

I was feeling confident at how easily my pie was coming together, so I decided to get fancy and create a lattice top crust.  I rolled out the dough, then used a pizza wheel to cut strips.
I wove the strips on top of the pie.

Here it is baking in the oven... The edges started to get dark kind of fast, so I covered it with foil.

And here is the finished product.  Truth be told, the filling was still fairly sweet, and tasted more like blueberry than cherry to me....But my dad's second favorite pie is blueberry, so I think I was in the clear.
He really liked his birthday desert, and my mother had told me that she was so impressed with my pie baking that she will forgo her usual caramel apple pie order from the farmstand in town for Christmas, and let me bake a pie in her kitchen!!

The recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine's pie recipe.  Instead of the all butter pastry dough, I subbed half shortening - last time I made an all butter dough, and I think I prefer it...sub whatever pastry dough you like - no hard feelings!

here is a link to my favorite: all Butter pastry dough

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups frozen (not thawed) pitted sweet cherries (2 pound)
Whole milk for brushing

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle and put a large baking sheet on rack.

2.  Finely grind tapioca in grinder.
3.  Whisk in ground tapioca, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and sugar, then add cherries, lemon juice and vanilla extract and toss well. Let stand 30 minutes.
3.  Roll out dough (keep remaining piece chilled). Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim any excess dough to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out top crust.
Roll out remaining dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round. Toss cherries well again, then add to shell and cover with top crust
To Creat Lattice:
Cut remaining dough into 1 inch wide strips.  Lay five strips across the top of the pie.  Pick up strips 1, 3 and 5 and fold them over halfway.  Lay another strip underneath, then unfold the strips back to their original position.  Pick up strips 2 and 4, and lay a strip underneath.  Now repeat the same on the other side of the pie.  Crimp edges decoratively.

Brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pie on preheated baking sheet 30 minutesutes, then cover edge with a pie shield or foil and reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake until crust is deep golden and filling is bubbling in center, 50 minutes to 1 hour more.


  1. sounds so great! I'm all for butter all the time. Happy Birthday to your dad!

  2. I think he appreciated and loved the birthday cherry pie much more than a cake!!! Looks delish

  3. I'm all for birthday pie -- sounds like your dad is a pretty lucky guy.