Summer Pie

There is nothing I love more than summer fruits – apricots, blueberries, plums, nectarines, peaches, & cherries are by far my favorite fruits. Combine any combination of these with a a flaky pie crust and you definitely have a dessert winner in my book.

The other day my bff (since before bff was a term, i.e. literally friends forever) brought me a HUGE box of fresh cherries the other day. Of course my family has been devouring them but I set aside a good amount to make a pie that would be bursting with cherry goodness.

I lack a cherry pitter so the pitting was all done the good ol’ fashioned way…by hand…with a knife. It was pretty messy and I highly suggest wearing a giant apron to cover your clothing while doing this. I was watching True Blood as I was performing this task, and (warning: this is about the most macabre thing I’ve ever said) I kept thinking that the cherries and their juice were reminding me of the hearts Eric pulled out of people last season. Well that’s enough gross right there. Moving on…

I also had about 6 ripe apricots, fresh from the garden, sitting on the kitchen counter, so I thought hey, why not throw those in too! I think my next pie will be an apricot-blueberry. Or just plain apricot. Mmm…apricots.

Ready to go in the oven!

I had leftover pie crust dough so I fought the temptation to cut them into bats (I have a bat cookie cutter for Halloween) and chose hearts because I suppose that’s more appropriate for summertime. I thought about doing a star but I don’t have a star cookie cutter and no one wants to see me freehand. It’s not a pretty sight.

Post-baking. I don’t like my pies shiny so I left out an egg-wash. Clearly I made the right choice – just look at that golden brown deliciousness!

The hearts kept their shape! Success! Too bad the crimping of the edge didn’t hold as well.

Not the prettiest picture. I apparently can make pies but not cut slices.
It was a pretty juicy pie, so it had to be put in a bowl. Still delicious.

Cherry-Apricot Pie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted (not the tart kind, the sweet kind)
5 – 6 fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries and apricots)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together the cherries, apricots, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.

Roll out half of chilled dough (see recipe below) on a floured work surface to 13-inch round. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan. Trim edges to a little more than a half-inch overhang.

Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.

Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. I take one knuckle and indent all around the pie, creating a wavy/braided look.

Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, on a baking sheet in case of juice leaks. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.

Resist the temptation to eat hot pie, the liquid will still be very hot and juicy, and needs time to set. Allow about 30 minutes cool time. If you’re smart, you’ll allow the pie to cool while you’re eating dinner, rather than after dinner where you’ll just end up staring at it and picking at the crust. Not that I did that. Definitely not me.

Pie Crust

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks butter, very cold, chopped into small squares
1 to 1 1/2 cups ice water (fill a measuring cup with a few ice cubes and water)

I took this recipe and adapted it for my food processor because well, why not. Much faster than doing it by hand.

In your food processor, pulse together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold butter into about 1/2-inch square pieces. Add them to the food processor and pulse. Continue to pulse until it looks like all the butter pieces are about the size of tiny peas. Maybe 30 to 45 seconds, not very long at all.

Drizzling 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes) over the butter and flour mixture in the food processor. Run the processor as your add another 1/2 cup of ice water. If the dough looks too dry, add about 1/2 cup more of ice water. Once it has combined together, gather the large clump into one giant mound, and knead gently on a floured surface.

Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough chill in the fridge for about two hours before rolling it out.

Note: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

We still have cherries left so another pie will definitely be happening soon :]
Happy Baking!

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