A Bowlful of Cherry Pits
It's cherry season again and I am usually happy about that but ever since I planted two trees over 6 years ago, nary a cherry has crossed the threshold into my kitchen and that is because I just cannot compete with an army of birds, chipmunks, squirrel and deer. They are discerning critters too, choosing the ripest of the fruit and leaving the pits behind.
I have tried netting, noise and fencing but nothing works. It seems ludicrous that I have to buy cherries but there you have it. Rainier and Bing are two of my favorite types and Queen Ann is good too.
I love to eat them cold straight from the frig. When I was a kid, we had pit wars and would see how far we could spit cherry pits. I still get that urge sometimes. Cherry season is here only for a short stay so fill up while you can. For the 4thof July, make a cherry pie. I like to use sour cherries for this or you can use frozen cherries if fresh are not available. When I eat this pie with a snowball of creamy vanilla ice cream, I do try to forgive those critters who have robbed me of my home grown cherries because to hold a grudge is just the pits.
Cherry Pie For The 4thof July
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter grated on a cheese grater’s largest holes
8 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
6-8 tablespoons cold water
3 pounds pitted sour cherries
1 to 1-½ cups sugar (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest one lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process for 5 or 6 quick pulses. Add shortening and process for 5 or 6 quick pulses. Add just enough water through feed tube, using quick pulses to form a dough. Do not over-process If you can pick up a bit of dough and it holds together between your fingers, stop. Gather the dough into a disk and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half into a 12 -inch diameter. Fit it into a 9-inch pie pan.
Spoon the filling evenly over the crust.
Roll out the second piece of dough. Top with the cherry filling and pinch the edges of the crust between your fingers to seal it.
Re-roll and use the scrapes to make cut out stars for the top of the pie.
Brush the top of the pie with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any juicy drips.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack. Cut into wedges to serve.