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So yesterday it was Pi Day. There was I, making my very first cherry pie, and I didn't even realise it was International Pi(e) Day. The rest of the blogging world had gone crazy with their amazing array of sweet or savoury pies and mine was dutifully sat in the fridge ready for its moment of baking. So here am I, a day late, sharing my Cherry Pie with you all. If you want to know the real inspiration for trying my hand at this ruby red creation, it was all down to the excitement about the new series of Twin Peaks. I mean - yay! Ever since that final scene where Agent Dale Cooper smacked his head against the mirror, uttering, "Where's Annie?" in a maniacal voice, I've been longing to know what comes next. And I've ALWAYS wanted to try the miraculous cherry pie from the Double R Diner with their damn fine coffee.
So just a few *ahem* years since I watched it, I have finally got around to making my very own cherry pie. I think I might just have become a pie addict! The cherry filling was a bit of a mistake - as in, I wanted to buy tinned cherries but when I got to the supermarket, my only option was tinned cherry fruit filling. I expected this to be cherries in liquid but it was more like cherries in a glutinous gel. It actually tastes pretty good.
The pastry is wonderfully straightforward which I love and you roll it out straightaway rather than waiting for it to chill. You can make it by hand, but I made mine in the mixer. It's simply flour, sugar and salt mixed with small cubes of cold butter; then this is mixed with water to make your pastry. To make the lattice stripes, I have a cutter (I got this from Tala but there are lots of different ones available) but you can easily use a knife and ruler and make straight lines if you don't have the cutter. I also decided to give my pie an air of romance so used a heart cutter with the leftover pastry to make my border.
So you divide your pastry in half and the first half lines your dish. The filling it added and the the top lattice is woven on to the top. The pie needs to chill for at least half an hour (mine went in the fridge overnight) and then it's ready to bake.
I really love the bubbling cherry sauce which peaks up through the golden lattice when your pie has finished baking. And it's absolutely delicious served warm fresh from the oven.
Whether or not you're a Twin Peaks fan, whether or not you ever hankered after a slice of the Double R Diner's most famous cherry pie, or whether or not you actually had a clue what was going on in the show for the whole two seasons, this pie is super yummy. It may be spring here, but that doesn't stop the bitter wind blowing and the -2 degree temperatures so there's nothing better than curling up in front of the fire with a slice of it.
To quote Agent Dale Copper, "This must be where pies go when they die" 💕💕
adapted from Williams-Sonoma recipe for Cherry Pie
Makes one 25cm pie
- 400G PLAIN FLOUR
- 2 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 250G UNSALTED BUTTER (straight from the fridge and cut into little cubes)
- 6 TBSP COLD WATER
- 2 TINS OF CHERRY FRUIT FILLING
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (fan)
- To make your pastry, first mix the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a freestanding mixer
- Cut your butter into small cubes, add this to the bowl and make sure that each piece is coated with flour
- Then mix together with the paddle attachment until the texture looks like cornmeal - I usually finish it off with my fingertips to make sure that each piece of butter is no larger than a pea
- Add the water and mix again slowly until the dough comes together and forms a ball
- Divide your dough in half and put half onto a lightly floured surface
- Flatten the disc with your hand and then roll it out until it's around 30cm in diameter adding a little extra flour if needed
- Immediately place this into your pie dish leaving around 2cm of pastry overhang
- Then take the other half of the dough and roll it out into a rectangular shape around 30cm by 20cm
- Cut the dough into strips (using a ribbon cutter if you want scalloped edges)
- Put your cherry filling into your pie and make sure it's spread evenly
- Then build your lattice onto the top of your pie with your strips overhanging the edge of the pie dish
- You can either fold the edges of the pastry back over the edge and crimp the to seal the pie, but I chose to cut the pastry flush with the edge of the dish
- Cut out small heart shapes (any shape would do here -- leaves, fish, flowers, etc) and after placing a tiny amount of water on the back of each heart, place them around the edge of the pie dish
- Chill your pie in the fridge for at least half an hour
- Bake your pie for 15 minutes
- Decrease your oven temperature to 160 degrees celsius (fan) and bake for a further 45 minutes
- Your pie's ready when the crust is golden brown and the cherry filling is bubbling up through the lattice
- Enjoy warm from the oven with a cup of freshly brewed, (damn) fine coffee :)
So a little late for Thanksgiving, but definitely not too late to indulge in this year, comes the Spiced Pumpkin Pie. There are two reasons why I love this. The first, is that it contains my beloved autumnal favourite - the pumpkin. Definitely one reason to welcome in the autumn after the warm, hazy days of summer. And the other is that the first time I tasted Pumpkin Pie, it came from Williams Sonoma, one of my very favorite shops (sadly contained Stateside) - and I loved it so much, I was hooked. So it seemed only fitting that the first time I tried my hand at this, it should be a Williams Sonoma recipe.
This is actually very simple to make and consists first of making and chilling your very own pie dough and then creating a rich creamy pumpkin filling spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. I mean, what's not to love?
In the UK, the pumpkin pie recipes tend to lean towards a sweet shortcrust pastry but an American friend reliably informed me that genuine article pumpkin crust tends to be more crumbly and flakey. So I used the (American) Williams Sonoma recipe for Pie Dough which you can make in a standalone mixer - even better! Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment, then mix together flour, sugar and salt. Next add cubed butter in one go, ensuring that you toss the butter through the flour to coat it before turning the mixer on. Mix it on low to medium speed until it forms coarse breadcrumbs where the butter is no larger than peas. Add 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix again until the dough comes together, around 30 seconds.
With this pie dough, you're going to roll it out and line the tin before you refrigerate it which is a little different from the usual method of chilling the pastry before you roll it out. So put the dough ball onto a lightly floured surface and press down with your hand to form a large disc. Roll it out to around 30 cm and then carefully transfer it to your tin. I found it pretty robust at this stage so it didn't tear or rip. Then gently press the bottom edges around the inside base of the tin and the sides, ensuring that you are pressing it into the sides. When you've finished with this, my method of cutting off the unwanted pastry is to roll my rolling pin across the top to cut off the edges (although this pastry is prone to a little shrinkage so you could cut off the excess pastry after baking if you prefer.
This is when the pastry needs to be chilled. About a hour or so should do it and if you need it be ready faster, you could pop it in the freezer. After it's chilled, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your pastry shell with tin foil, ensuring that the foil covers the top edges and hangs over the side and then it fill it with pastry weights or rice. Bake this for 20 minutes in the oven and then peek under the foil. As it's going to be baked again and will turn golden brown then, you're just looking for it to lose its wetness and the pastry to turn a light golden brown. This should take 20-30 minutes.
In the meantime, whilst your pastry is partially baking, it's time to make the pumpkin filling. Again, it couldn't be easier. First whisk the eggs and dark brown sugar until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and beat together until smooth.
When the pastry is ready, remove the foil and weights and then fill with the pumpkin filling. You may find it easier to place your pie tin on a baking tray to make it easier to get in and out of the oven. Bake in the lower third of the oven for around 30 - 40 minutes checking regularly as you approach the 30 minutes. You want to ensure that it doesn't crack but the filling needs to be slightly risen and firm in the middle.
Then leave to cool on a cooling rack or eat slightly warm.
It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It has a consistency a little like an egg custard but lovely spiced flavours and a creamy richness from the pumpkin and cream.
I love it. Like I said, don't fret if you've missed thanksgiving but break tradition and make this as a yummy pud after Sunday lunch. Or supper with friends.
You won't regret it :)
Spiced Pumpkin Pie (from Williams-Sonoma's Pie & Tart)
- 200G PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 1/4 TSP SALT
- 125G COLD BUTTER, CUBED
- 3 TBSP VERY COLD WATER
Spiced Pumpkin Filling
- 105G DARK BROWN SUGAR
- 2 LARGE EGGS
- 1 TSP GROUND CINNAMON
- 1 TSP GROUND GINGER
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 1/4 TSP GROUND CLOVES
- 1/4 TSP GROUND NUTMEG
- 250G CANNED OR FRESH PUMPKIN PUREE
- 375ML DOUBLE CREAM
- Firstly make the Pie Dough by putting the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and stirring to mix the ingredients together
- Then add the butter in one go, tossing the butter in the flour until every piece has a light covering
- Put the mixer on low to medium speed until the mixture ressembles coarse breadcrumbs, where the butter pieces are no larger than peas
- Then add the water and mix briefly until the dough comes together, around 30 seconds
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and press down with your hand to form a large disc
- Roll it out to around 30 cm and then carefully transfer it to your tin
- Gently press the bottom edges around the inside base of the tin and the sides, ensuring that you are pressing it into the sides
- Roll your rolling pin across the top to cut off the edges
- Chill your pastry for around an hour
- Then preheat the oven to 180 degrees
- Line your pastry shell with tin foil, ensuring that the foil covers the top edges and hangs over the side and then it fill it with pastry weights or rice
- Bake it for 20 minutes in the oven and then peek under the foil until it loses its wetness and turns a light golden brown (takes around 20-30 minutes)
- Meanwhile, make the Spiced Pumpkin Filling
- Whisk together the eggs and dark sugar until smooth
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again until smooth
- When the pastry shell is ready, fill with the pumpkin mixture
- Bake in the lower third of the oven for around 30 - 40 minutes until the pumpkin filling is slightly risen and set in the middle
- Remove from the oven and cool it on a cooling rack
- Enjoy cold, slightly warm or with whipped cream :)