So, I don’t know if you remember the TV show Twin Peaks from the early nineties but my colleague sure does. Obsessed, he put together a small group at work to enjoy good coffee and the best cherry pie. I accepted the invite looking forward to the gathering. The next email I received was him politely asking if I would be interested in making the cherry pie if he supplied the coffee. I happily accepted until it took me 5 grocery stores to locate the cherries! Never the less, I did find them and pitted them all myself.
In my search for a perfect pie crust recipe, I’ve tried the classic flour, butter, salt, water…but I found it hard to roll out nicely without cracking and having to fill holes. Then I over heard my boss and colleague talk about pie crust over lunch and for some reason, vodka entered into the conversation. Whhaaaat? Vodka? Yes. Vodka. It makes the dough pliable and it rolls out beautifully. The vodka bakes out in the oven.
A lot of pie crust recipes call for ice cold water, so my way, is just to melt a few ice cubes and measure the amount. To speed up the process, I’ll add some water to it.
Make sure to always blind bake your pie crust as the crust could become soggy from the juice of your filling. Blind baking is when you fill your crust with pie weights or your own mixture, like mine. Ensure you put a piece of parchment paper to be able to lift out the weights or beans 🙂
The cherries are wonderful this year and the prices have ranged between $3.99 per pound to $8.99 per pound… out of their minds, $9 dollars a pound? Try to make sure to check out the price before the cash register or you might be in for a surprise!
Cherry pitters/stoners are fairly inexpensive but can range from $10-$350. There are really cool ones that you load your cherries in and you push on the plunger. Pit goes into the container and the cherry rolls down into a bowl. The next cherry lines up to be pitted!
I went for the simple hand held one. Works just fine in my opinion.
Even though the bag says minute or instant tapioca, I highly recommend just blitzing it through a spice grinder a few times before adding it.
Feel free to do whatever kind of top crust you’d like. I did a lattice before this one but found it didn’t come out as juicy.
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 45 minutes Cool time: 10 minutes
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 4
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup ice cold water
1 cup sugar
2 to 3 tbsp instant tapioca
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice, brandy or kirsch
6 cups pitted cherries (2 lbs)
3 tbsp heavy cream
In a food processor, add 1.5 cups flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse to combine.
Add butter and shortening. Process until pea size balls form and the dough comes together.
Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse until the dough absorbs the flour and it’s evenly distributed around the bowl.
Empty into a medium sized bowl.
Sprinkle the vodka and water over top of the dough a little bit at a time while folding the dough in on itself with a spatula until the vodka and water is absorbed and it has made a sticky dough ball.
Divide dough into two and wrap with plastic wrap. Make them into discs and put them in the fridge to firm up. About 45 minutes to 2 days.
When ready to bake, Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
On a floured surface, place a disc of dough in the middle and roll into a 12 inch circle. Make sure to flour your rolling pin as it might stick.
Transfer to a 9″ pie plate. Line the dough with parchment and add your pie weights. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Once done, take the pie crust out, take out the weights and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the middle has cooked through.
While the crust is blind baking, wash and pit the cherries and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a coffee grinder add the tapioca and grind until it’s like a powder. Empty the tapioca into a small bowl and add the cinnamon and sugar. Combine.
Pour the sugar mixture over the cherries and drizzle with the lemon juice. Toss until all cherries are covered with the mixture.
Roll out the other dough disc ready for it to cover the pie.
When the crust is ready, take it out and place it on a cooling rack, lower the temperature to 375 degrees F.
Add the cherry mixture to the baked crust and cover with the other half of the dough. Make sure to cut in a vent or use a pie vent.
Brush the cream onto the top of the pie and place the pie into the oven for 50 minutes to an hour.
Once baked, the top crust will be browned. Let cool for at least 2 hours before serving allowing time for the cherries to cool down.
Serve as is or a la mode!