Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cherry Pie, Episode 3--Using Frozen Cherries and Scratch Crust Ingredients

*** 1/24/2017
Accompanying video segments now available at YouTube—
"Cherry Pie—Section 1 of 3, Overview and Fruit Filling Preparation"
"Cherry Pie—Section 2 of 3, Pie Dough Preparation"
"Cherry Pie—Section 3 of 3, Pie Assembly and Baking"
Playlist: "Cherry Pie (Using Frozen Cherries and Scratch Crust Ingredients, All Three Sections"


The writeup is finally here! It deviates from my usual recipe articles of including imperative steps, which could make this article REALLY long and maybe more difficult to follow than going to my video(s). The process has two separate stages and the convergence stage: fruit filling preparation, pie dough preparation, and pie assembly/baking. Although the number of ingredients are few, the processes require time, timing, and order. If you try this recipe, you should first read the article and view the video (three sections) thoroughly.

The ingredients are few:
  • Cherry pie filling: 1 pound frozen cherries, 1 C granulated sugar, 1/4 C cornstarch, 1/2 C water
  • Pie crust: 2 1/4 C flour, 1 T powdered sugar (granulated ok), 3/4 t salt, up to 3/4 C water
Historically, for recipes I've posted, I've listed required equipment. In this case, because bakers' tool preferences can vary widely, the video sections provide the best visual guidelines. The following actions are a few examples of deviating from traditional pie-making norms.
  • For the pie filling, I coated frozen cherries and granulated sugar in a bowl, chilling them overnight and occasionally stirring to get the cherries to juice up. The cherries bag includes thawing instructions that might speed up the process. Some people prefer fresh cherries that they de-stem and pit. Others use canned or jar cherries, which require different processes.
  • For mixing of pie dough ingredients, I used a tilt-head stand mixer for ease. In the past, I have used a pastry blender. Some people prefer to use two forks.
  • For cutting the butter, I used a combination of french fry cutter and butter knife. I've seen videos for various butter shapes from pat slices to butter cube in its entirety.
  • For rolling out of pie dough, I used a Joseph rolling pin on a cutting board. Other bakers use various rolling pins and work surfaces.
  • For fruit pie venting, required for steam escape during baking, I latticed the top crust using a pizza cutter and an inverted cooling rack. (Numerous sites show different methodologies for latticing.) Typical top crusts have slits, which are faster to implement.
One picture is worth a thousand words, and the video is worth a lot more. The entire video turns out to be 2.5G and 26:10 long. To make upload more manageable, I split it into sections 1, 2, and 3. You can view them as a playlist or as standalone segments. Title screens within the sections display text for preparing the fruit filling, preparing the pie dough, and assembling the pie and baking it.

Video Section Title: Cherry Pie (Using Frozen Cherries and Scratch Crust Ingredients)
Section 1, Overview and Fruit Filling Preparation

  1. Processing the frozen cherries
  2. Fruit mix overnight
  3. Draining the cherries
  4. Mixing cornstarch and water for making the fruit sauce
  5. Cooking the cornstarch and sauce together
  6. Folding the cooked sauce into the cherries
Video Section Title: Cherry Pie (Using Frozen Cherries and Scratch Crust Ingredients)
Section 2, Pie Dough Preparation

  1. Pie crust ingredients (overall intro info)
  2. Measuring pie crust dry ingredients
  3. Mixing the dry ingredients together
  4. Cutting the butter
  5. Stirring the cut butter chunks into the dry ingredients
  6. Mixing water into the chilled dough
  7. Preparing to chill the mixed dough for an hour
  8. Retrieving the chilled dough for flouring, flattening, folding, and rotating it a few times before wrapping it for more chilling
  9. Retrieving the chilled dough, dividing it, and rolling out the bottom pie crust
  10. Preheating the oven for 350 degrees, flouring the surface, and rolling out the top crust
Video Section Title: Cherry Pie (Using Frozen Cherries and Scratch Crust Ingredients)
Section 3, Pie Assembly and Baking

  1. Cutting the top crust dough into lattice strips
  2. Pouring the cherries into the pie pan, then assembling the lattice strips
  3. Brushing egg wash on unbaked pie
  4. Weighing the egg-washed, unbaked pie before baking it for 30 minutes
  5. Putting a pie shield on the pie after baking it for 30 minutes
  6. Baking complete (60 total minutes)--moving the pie from the oven to a cooling rack
  7. Revisiting latticing: Simulating cutting lattice strips differently using wax paper and pizza cutter
  8. Detailed article: Cherry Pie, Episode 3--Using Frozen Cherries and Scratch Crust Ingredients http://whilldtkwriter.blogspot.com/2017/01/cherry-pie-episode-3-using-frozen.html
Future Pie Thoughts
I've made three cherry pies in the recent past. For making a more perfect pie, hopefully using less time, I'll try the following actions:
  • Instead of overnight thawing of cherries and sugar, I'll try using the microwave oven, carefully monitoring and periodically stirring.
  • Weigh out my two pie doughs before rolling them out. I have tended to barely cover the pan with the bottom shell, and rolled out too much dough for the top shell (lattice).
  • Buy and use a pastry mat that has concentric circles as visual guides for pie shell diameters. The circles should help me stay inside the "lines". Related, for my third pie, I used an Oneida cutting board for my dough surface. It was OK, but the board slid around, even with a somewhat damp kitchen cloth. The silicone mats are reported to stay put during use. Possible candidate mats:
  • Re-view videos about latticing the day before or the day of making a pie to refamiliarize myself with the weaving process.
  • Bake the pie for 65 minutes total instead of 60. The bottom shells were cooked, but still a little pale.
Visit blog articles of my first and second cherry pie learning processes, which also include helpful links about scratch pie making.

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