Who loves cherries! I DO! Sour cherry is the darling of the dessert world but there’s a place for sweet cherries too.This recipe can be made ahead of time and whipped up in a hospitality emergency. Just make and freeze pastry dough ahead and can the cherries.
Sweet Cherry & Vanilla Bean Pie
3 lb bag of frozen sweet cherries (buy it at Costco)
1 cup of raw sugar
1/3 cup of ClearJel
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves.
1/3 cup of real lemon juice
1 tablespoon of greated organic lemon rind (optional).
sanding sugar or pearl sugar
milk and butter to do a pastry wash
Put the cherries into the colander over a bowl and thaw on the counter for 6 hours (or overnight), stirring occasionally, until you have collected atleast 2 cups of juice and it’s completely thawed. Set aside the juice and the cherries.
In a stockpot, whisk together the sugar, ClearJel and spices.
Whisk in the cherry juice (2-4 cups, more juice will result in a runnier product.)
Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Continue boiling until thickened.
Whisk in the lemon juice and rind and return to a boil, stirring constantly.
Continue stirring and allow the mixture to boil hard for 1 minute. This is important. If you don’t do this the Clear Jel will not activate.
Add the reserved cherries all at once, stir in gently, and continue stirring constantly while returning to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool.
Make crust using the Tender Flake box recipe. Chill for an hour.
Roll out a third of the pastry onto wax paper with a rolling pin taking care care to do short strokes, use as little flour as possible, and handle as little as possible.
Flip pastry onto the pie plate, then peel the wax paper off making sure you have at least one-inch hanging over all sides of the plate.
Fill with cooled Cherry Pie Filling.
Roll out more pastry and cut out with cookie cutter in cute shapes.
Once you are done decorating, roll the edges of the pastry and flute the edges.
Melt butter and milk. Brush pastry with milk butter wash.
Sprinkle crust generously with sanding sugar or pearl sugar. You don’t need to be too exact as the heat of the oven will melt the sugar in the filling, and not the sugar on the crust.
It will encrust your pastry with a pretty sparkle.
Put tin foil around the edges, else the edges will burn before the middle turns golden brown. Do not let the foil touch the pastry bc it will pull off when you remove the foil.
Bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees F - until crust is golden brown, and filling starts to bubble a little. Results will vary depending on your oven.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Best served warm with a scoop of frozen custard.
TIP FROM THE CHEF:
Buy the ClearJel from Gourmet Warehouse, fresh pungent spices and the vanilla from Maison Cote on Granville Island. Quality makes a big difference in this recipe and fresh spices will determine if you make an acceptable pie filling or a memorable one.