Cherry Pie Under a Blanket of Stars

This has been the summer of the cherries in the Mitchell home! Fresh cherries have been about 10 NIS/Kilo, with the best price around 8 NIS/Kilo at the Shuk this season. Besides the fact that they can be a bit labor intensive when dealing with pits and stems, we have feasted on cherries in fruit salads, muffins, and our favorite... the cherry pie!

I've made several cherry pies this summer, all of which turned out more yummy than my expectations. I can't take credit, though. God grew the cherries. I just followed His instructions to subdue the earth, and found a creative use for them.

Funny story about one my cherry pies...

We had plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with a group of American friends in Yemin Moshe. Somehow we managed to be the first guests to arrive, even before the host! Our travel bag, filled with homemade baked beans, and our pie was sitting on the ground. Sweet little Aviel came running through, tripped on the bag and landed his knees smack dab into my star covered pie! Poor guy! It was totally an accident, but I was so sad! Since it was well covered, it was still eatable, but it certainly had a giant crator on one side! LOL. God knows how to keep me humble for sure... humble pie.

A few weeks later, I decided to make another one for the birthday party at Yad HaShmona, for our friend, Rinat. This time I took some photos to share!

Let's get started!


Here we have one recycled hummus container's worth of hand pitted cherries (Thanks Devin!) mixed with cornstarch, sugar, vanilla and almond extract, and a pinch of salt, setting aside while I assembled the crust.


Next, I rolled out the crust for the pie pan. I made it earlier that morning and allowed it to refrigerate for probably an hour or so. Aviel is preparing a cutting board with flour for the top crust. He said he was making "train tracks."


After I rolled out the pie crust and pressed it into the pie plate, Aviel helped me make the top crust. We like to be a little bit festive, so I rolled out small amounts of crust and let him use a Star of David cookie cutter for the topping. My dear friend, Cassidy, gave us cookie cutters as a wedding gift. They have been super handy now that I'm a mom. My little guy loves using them.


He does a good job, too. I have to remind him to not overlap shapes, but he knows how it works. We sat together and cut stars until we used up all the dough.


Then I poured the cherry filling into the pie crust. Look at the rich color! Yummy!


Next, I covered the filling with our stars, working from the crust to the center. I like to try to balance how much the stars overlap while allowing some openings to see the pretty cherries underneath. The contrast makes the stars more visible, too.

After covering the filling with stars, I dust the top crust with a little mixture of fairly equal parts white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then pop it in a pre-heated oven about 40 minutes. This is also when I clean up our beautiful floury mess! We had a few stars left over, so we made "crust cookies" after the pie was finished!


And here's the final product! Yum! Yum!


***

Pie Crust

Ingredients

• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
• 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces, or 226.81 grams) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch (2 -3 cm)cubes
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 6 to 8 Tbsp ice or very cold water

Directions

1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix.

2. Add butter, one cube at a time, pulsing after each cube until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter.

3. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.

4. Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape and knead into 2 balls.

5. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
I've also found that this recipe freezes and defrosts really well, too!

6. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

7. Add filling to the pie.

8. The second ball of dough can bed Rolled out and placed onto the top of the filling in the pie, or saved and used for a second pie that if you are making pies that don't require a top crust!

***

Cherry Pie Filling

Ingredients

• 4 tablespoons corn starch
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup white sugar
• 4 cups pitted cherries
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

2. In a large mixing bowl combine cornstarch, salt, sugar, cherries, and extracts. Let stand 15 minutes.

3. Turn out into bottom crust and dot with butter.

4. Cover with top crust, flute edges and cut vents in top. Dust with some sugar/brown sugar/cinnamon if desired.

5. Bake for 40- 50 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Let cool before slicing.

***


Enjoy!

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