As most gardeners know, reaping an edible harvest requires patience, hard work, and luck.
In the past few years, the hardest has part for me has been the last of the three.
As soon as I fenced out the deer, the raccoons and feisty crows helped themselves to my fruit.
Then, when I invested in more netting than beach full of volleyball courts, we were hit with an unseasonable frost. Something always denied me my luscious fruit. But 2008 is my lucky year.
I had enough sour cherries to nibble, make sauce, and pies. And, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and the netting on the peach, pear and apple trees.
Here is my favorite recipe for Sour Cherry Pie. The crust is from Abby Mandell's Cusinart cookbook. The book came with my very first food processor and it's a good one. If you find a used copy on Amazon, grab it.
CHUNKY CHERRY PIE
1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
5 Tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup thick apple butter
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons flour
4-5 cups pitted sour cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts
A few shakes of ground cinnamon and cloves
Orange marmalade (D’Arbo brand is my favorite)
To Make Dough:
Put butter, egg yolk, salt, sugar and ice water in food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse on and off 5-6 times, then process for about 10 seconds. Add flour and process until dough just starts to hold together. Do not over-process or let it form a ball. Scrape dough into a plastic bag and working through the bag, press into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
To Make Pie:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter pie pan. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and place in pie pan. Trim dough and use your thumb or a fork to make a decorative edge.
Mix apple butter with corn starch and flour and spread on bottom of pie crust. Cut some of the cherries in half and leave some whole, then mix with walnuts. Add a few shakes of cinnamon and cloves and mix again.
Pour cherry-nit mixture into pie crust. ** If cherries are very liquidy, you may want to mix a few more tablespoons of flour or cornstarch into the mixture.** Using a spatula or your clean fingers, spread a layer of orange marmalade on top of pie.
Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set. If crust starts to get too brown, remove pie from oven, cover edges with aluminum foil and put back in oven. Let pie sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.