the task of pitting the cherries for this pie is an effort well
worth making. In the pastry kitchen, we liken this to the mind numbing
chore of shelling fava beans or de-veining shrimp. Commercial cherry
pitters will cut your prep time in half. Decent handheld pitters can be
picked up for less than $20.00. However, if you don’t want to spend the
money for yet another gadget, don’t let that discourage you from making
this pie. Grab a friend, a couple of paring knives and make it a team
effort. Like shelling fava beans, this is the perfect job to do sitting
on the porch, dishing with a pal. Just remember to wear your grubbies, cherry juice will splatter everywhere, including your clothes.
Bing Cherry Pie a la Brittany Bardeleben
will thank yourself later. I like Plugra, a European style butter which
can be found at Trader Joe’s. This recipe will leave you with plenty of
- 2 cups pastry or all purpose flour
- 8 oz. cold unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt (or 3/4 tsp. kosher salt)
- 5-7 Tb. ice water
your butter into small cubes, and place on a dinner plate. Put the
plate in the freezer while you gather the remaining ingredients.
the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse briefly to
combine. Add the butter and pulse until mixture in crumbly and the
butter is pea sized (this can also be done in a large bowl with a
pastry cutter or two forks).
water and pulse just to combine (mixture should still be crumbly!).
Grab a handful of the crumbs and squeeze it together with your fist. If
the mixture holds together, it’s done. If not, add more water, one
teaspoon at a time.
the crumbly dough out onto a work surface. Divide it into two piles
(one for the top crust and one for the bottom). Press each pile
together so you have two discs of dough. Wrap in plastic and
refrigerate for 1 hour.
may seem like a strange method for making a pie filling, but it’s
necessary to cook a few cups of the cherries with the starch. The pie
is still delicious if the pre-cooking process is eliminated (just be
sure to omit the water!), however, the juices and starch with fall to
the bottom of the pie. This creates a strange gelatinous layer after
the pie sits for a while.
- 4# cherries (weighed
before stemming and pitting)
- 2 Tb. lemon juice
- 6 oz. water
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 Tb amaretto (optional)
- 2 Tb unsalted butter, cut into cubes
a large pan, bring the water, lemon juice, two cups of the cherries and
any juices accumulated during the pitting process to a boil. Add the
starch and stir consistently over medium heat for about thirty seconds.
Mixture will be very thick and gloppy. Fold in remaining cherries and
amaretto if using. Cover surface with plastic and chill until cold.
filling into the crust and dot with the butter. Cover with the top
crust, seal and crimp the edges. Cut a few steam vents on top and
sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for thirty minutes,
then turn heat down to 350, and continue baking for one hour.