Is there anything as satisfying as warm slice of (cherry) pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Or perhaps a drizzle of single cream? Whatever the accompaniment, this dessert is a real winner. Cherry pie is the best of both worlds: pie being a classic recipe and cherries being somewhat more novel than the more predictable apple. I love the simplicity of seasonal fruit and a crisp, buttery pastry. A pie is a dessert that displays skill and effort, but is also wonderfully rustic and always looks inviting.
Cherries are at their best at this time of the year and this is a lovely way to use them. Pitting cherries can be cumbersome but it’s worth the effort! The subtle almond flavour in the fruity filling is the perfect compliment to the fruit. I hope you give it a try!
You will need a 23cm pie dish for this recipe.
Once again, I’ve managed to incorporate buttermilk into my baking. I swear by it in this pastry. If you can’t get hold of it, you can substitute regular milk with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using in place of the buttermilk.
For the pastry:
350g plain flour
230g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
120ml cold buttermilk
For the filling:
100g caster sugar
900g pitted fresh cherries
3 tbsp corn starch
1-2tsp almond extract
For the glaze:
Egg wash or more buttermilk
1 tbsp Demerera sugar
Make the pie dough:
- In a medium bowl, measure out the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture. Work quickly to break the butter down until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs – some bits of butter will be the size of oat flakes.
- Create a well in the mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Use a fork to bring the dough together.
- Once the whole mixture is moist and comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead the dough into a smooth ball for 1-2 minutes – do not overwork it.
- Divide the dough ball into two – you may want to use your scales to ensure they are roughly the same weight.
- Wrap each dough ball in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
While the dough is in the fridge…
- Pit the cherries.
- 5 minutes before the hour is up, macerate the cherries: in a bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, corn starch and almond extract. Set aside while you roll out the pastry.
Assemble the pie…
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Remove one ball of dough from the fridge.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 13 inches in diameter. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle.
- Gently transfer the rolled out round of dough to your pie dish. Transfer the pie dish to the refrigerator.
- Remove the second ball of dough from the fridge. Shape the dough into more of a square than a round before rolling.
- Roll into a square approximately 3mm thick.
- Use a ruler as a guide by holding it above the top of the square and make 1 inch incisions into the pastry using a pizza slicer.
- Cut 9-10 strips into the square.
- Remove the pie dish from the fridge.
- Add the cherry filling to the pie dish.
- Construct your lattice by weaving the strips of pastry alternately above and below each other.
- Trim the edges of the pastry that spill over the edge of the dish. (You may, at this point, re-roll the off cuts of pastry into another smaller round of dough and cut out hearts as I did)
- Use a fork to crimp the lattice strips into the bottom pie dough.
- Brush the lattice with either an egg wash or extra buttermilk.
- Sprinkle the lattice with the demerera sugar.
- Bake on the bottom shelf of your oven for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, low the temperature to 180 degrees Celsius for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.