Happy National Cherry Pie Day!
In honor of this delicious day, I teamed up with the wonderful folks over at King Arthur Flour to try and achieve the ultimate cherry pie.
What can I say? Some challenges in life are easier than others.
They sent me some of their pie-making essentials to help me out- including their Pie Essentials DVD, an adjustable silicone crust shield to keep vulnerable crusts free from burning, their signature pie filling enhancer to help perfectly thicken the filling, and a bag of KAF all-purpose flour for the ultimate crust.
And we all know that the most important part of the pie is the crust… I was lucky enough to attend “Blog and Bake” at King Arthur Flour’s Baking Education Center in Norwich, Vermont last summer, where I learned from the pros themselves how to make the perfect pie dough.
Lots of recipes call for vegetable shortening in pie dough because it will give you lots of flaky layers, but I prefer the taste and mouth-feel of butter, so that’s what I stick with.
For the filling, I tracked down canned tart (sour) cherries, and tossed them with a little lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, and KAF’s magical pie filling enhancer. Fruit pies need a thickener so you don’t end up with watery filling, but sometimes using flour, cornstarch, or tapioca (traditional thickeners) can result in a gluey, gloppy filling. KAF’s pie filling enhancer is a special blend of thickener, superfine sugar, and ascorbic acid – just enough to add some texture, but not so much it overwhelms the taste of the fruit.
And into the shell it goes!
Since National Cherry Pie Day coincided with Presidents’ Day this year, I decided to decorate my crust with stars and crimp the crust by pressing a spoon along it to look like bunting.
On went the silicone crust shield, its motto stamped right onto its surface!
While it baked I perused the winter edition of King Arthur Flour’s colorful bi-monthly newsletter, The Baking Sheet, which they were also kind enough to send along. In just a few minutes I had bookmarked recipes for Pottage soup, Honey Bran Bread, and Caribbean Coconut Bread. Each issue of The Baking Sheet is like a mini cookbook, with seasonal recipes, photos, clear instructions, and readers’ questions.
Sadly, when my pie was done, my stars and crust crimps had disappeared. I regret to say this pie was not my most attractive, but of course, the true test of its success would be in the taste and texture of the crust and filling.
A quick glance showed that we did in fact have some flaky layers going on – always a good sign!
Once cooled, a few cuts showed we also had a wonderful looking filling, which soon proved to taste as fantastic as it looked. Tart and sweet with a marvelous texture, just as the pie filling enhancer promised. I like a little fluidity to my filling so I used the lesser of the suggested amount. If you like a firmer filling you could opt for a bit more of it. The crust was also perfect – flaky and buttery and everything you want a good crust to be.
Cherry Pie success! If you didn’t celebrate today, why not stretch National Cherry Pie Day into a whole week and bake your own?
Special thanks to King Arthur Flour for inviting me to participate in National Cherry Pie Day by (what else?) baking a delicious pie, and helping ensure my success with some great tools.
Want to know more?
- Read more about “Blog & Bake” and the Baking Education Center at King Arthur Flour.
- See Yankee Senior Lifestyle Editor Amy Traverso demonstrate how to make and how to roll out the perfect pie crust.
Click to view and print the recipe for Classic Cherry Pie.