Hi Hi! I am currently sitting on my butt on a plane somewhere over the middle of America, on my way back to NYC after an amazing few days in Yakima Valley, Washington. I was super stoked to be asked to attend this year’s cherry harvest with Domex Superfresh Growers - they hosted myself and a bunch of bloggers in Yakima, where we visited their orchard and factories (I popped some photos at the end of the post!), and got to learn all about their company and how they process their fruit. We toured the orchards, picked some cherries for ourselves, and then were given an amazing tour of their production facility. Each year they produce 60 million pounds of cherries - their factory is able to handle 45,000 cherries per MINUTE. The process is so amazingly streamlined, from the picking of the fruit to the shipping out from the factory, and I learnt so many interesting things and met so many amazing people! Yakima Valley is insanely beautiful and actually reminded me a whole lot of home - the town I am from in New Zealand has similar geology (I was nerding out), the same horticultural focus and produces the same things - hops, tree fruit and wine, so it was so nice to be surrounded by all these things so far away from home.
To celebrate the trip and the cherry harvest, I have teamed up with Superfresh Growers to bring you this cherry pie recipe! I originally had something fancy and intricate planned with the fruit, but the second a giant box of the two-bite cherries showed up on my doorstep, I took one bite and knew that they were destined for pie. You really can’t beat a pie made with beautiful fresh fruit - all you need is a touch of sugar and starch, and the fruit really does shine through. The two-bite cherries really are that - big and juicy and perfect for pie.
I kept things super simple with this pie, which I like to do when I have amazing produce, and fancied things up a little with the pie lattice instead of an intricate recipe. I have a few vintage pie tins I have been dying to use for the longest time, so instead of making one big pie I opted for four smaller pies. This recipe makes enough for four smaller 7” pies, or you can use it to make two regular 9” pies instead, whatever you feel like. I got the pie tins on Ebay - from what I saw the 7” size is a fairly standard size for vintage pie tins, so they shouldn’t be too hard to get hold of if you wanted some of your own (Looks like Amazon has them too). Cherry pie is definitely one of my new favorite things - it really is the taste of summer. Whether you go all out with fancy pie lattice or just keep it simple - it’s going to taste bomb either way.
A few wee tips:
I used vintage pie tins to make these which I got on ebay - they were 7 inches across. This recipe makes four 7" pies. I measured the volume, and if you wanted, this recipe would also make 2 x regular sized 9 inch pies.
I love using tapioca starch in pies as it makes a super smooth filling that isn't gluey or goopy. If you don't have any, I would suggest you get some rather than substituting with corn starch - they behave differently.
I actually divided all the filling ingredients into four and mixed them up just before I put the lattices on each pie, because I didn't want the sugar to pull the moisture out of the fruit as it sat, meaning that the last pie would be much juicier than the first, and the starch may not distribute evenly, leading to a difference in texture of the cooked pie.
I made the pies the day before I baked them and stored them in the fridge overnight before baking. The only reason I did this was because a giant rain storm came in as I was shooting and I lost my light. 30 mins in the fridge (which is what I have included in the recipe) is fine!
The two-bite cherries from Superfresh were exactly that - they take two bites, so I chopped them in half before making them into the filling, as large cherries can mean that they don't pack in well, and spaces between filling can lead to all sorts of pie flop problems. If your cherries are smaller and pack well, then you may not need to chop - before you mix them with the other ingredients, pour them into your pie dish and check!
Make the pie dough in two batches. If you make it as one large batch you run the risk of your butter getting too hot, and overworking the dough. Making it in two batches reduces this risk.
I like to cut all the strips for lattices at the start, and then use the last pie to use up all the extra strips in an uneven lattice (the one with the cut-outs), but if you like then you can definitely cut them as you go. I store them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until I am ready to use them.
- Makes four 7 inch pies, or 2 9 inch pies -
5 cups (750g) Flour
Pinch of Salt
4 tsp (16g) sugar
4 sticks (450g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup (240ml) cold water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup (60ml) Apple cider vinegar
1800g two-bite cherries, pitted and cut in half (1800g is the pitted weight)
120g tapioca starch
500g raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Raw / turbinado sugar to finish (optional)
- PROCESS -
Note: I find it easiest to make the pie dough in two batches, to help keep the ingredients cold. You can make up the ice/water/apple cider vinegar mixture and use it for both the batches, but divide the other ingredients in two and make it one batch at a time. (2 1/2 cups flour, pinch of salt, 2 tsp sugar, 2 sticks (125g) butter)
Place flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Combine ice, water and cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside. Cut butter into chunks, and add to the flour. Toss lightly to coat. Working quickly, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are only pea-sized chunks left. You want a few lumps of butter remaining to keep the pastry nice and tender.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the ice water into the flour and butter mixture, and using a stiff spatula or your hands, mix in well. Continue adding water a tablespoon at a time ( I normally need about 8-10 tbsp) until you have a dough that holds together well, but is not too wet. Remember that the dough will hydrate more as you rest it, so you don't want it to be wet and sticky at this stage. Squeeze together with your fingertips to make a homogenous dough. Pat the dough into a rectangle, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat with the second half of the ingredients. Place your dough rectangles in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
Remove one rectangle of dough from the fridge, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into four equal pieces (if you are making two large pies, divide into two). Working with one piece at a time, roll out until slightly larger than your pie pan, and approximately 1/8 (3mm) in thickness. Line your pie pan, leaving some overhang. Place in the fridge until ready to fill. Repeat with the remaining three pie pans.
Roll out the second rectangle of dough to a large rectangle, 1/8" (3mm) in thickness. Cut your desired tops for the pies - I did a range of thicknesses of lattice strips for one pie, equally sized strips cut with a fluted cutter for another, equal sized thin strips for a double strip lattice, and some thin strips which I made into a braid to line the rim of one of the pies. I then pressed the scraps back together, rolled out, froze the dough briefly and used that to make the cut-outs. I prefer to make all the lattice strips and decorations for the top at the beginning and then go from there, but if you like you can cut off pieces of dough as you work on each lattice.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Note: If I am making individual pies with intricate lattices, I prefer to mix up the filling for each pie separately so that the cherries don't sit in the sugar and starch for too long while I am latticing each pie. I have found that if this happens the starch can be unevenly distributed, leading to fillings with different textures. For four pies, each pie would have 450g fruit, 30g tapioca starch, 125g sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
Remove one lined pie pan from the fridge. In a small bowl, combine a quarter of the filling ingredients (see above for quantities), mix until well combined, then transfer to the lined pan. Top with desired lattice, leaving the lattice overhanging - it trims up best if it is chilled. Transfer to the fridge while you repeat the process to assemble the other three pies.
Once you have finished decorating the pies, Remove them from the fridge one at a time, and, using a sharp knife or sharp pair of kitchen scissors, trim the bottom crust and top crust so that they are flush with the edge of the pie pan. Press down lightly to ensure the top and bottom crusts are secured. Return the pies to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.
While the pies are chilling, preheat the oven to 425˚f / 220˚c. Brush each pie lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional raw sugar. Transfer to a baking sheet (you may need to bake these in two batches depending on the size of your oven - they may leak so make sure there is a sheet underneath them. See how many you can fit before egg washing).
Bake at 425˚f / 220˚c for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to go golden. Reduce the temperature 375˚f / 190˚c, and bake until the pastry is deeply golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Check after 15 minutes and cover with foil if necessary, I found 20 minutes at 425˚f and then 15 minutes uncovered at 375˚f, then 15 minutes covered with foil at 375˚f worked for me, but whether you need to cover it or not depends on your preference for pastry, and your oven. Check on it and cover if needed!
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.
Thank you so much to Superfresh Growers for sponsoring this post and for having me for the most amazing trip to Yakima Valley! All opinions are my own.