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3 Secret Ingredients for 4th of July Cherry Pie.

Posted on July 04, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

I am a city girl, growing up in a suburb of Detroit. The two-bedroom brick house had an attic that was later built into a third bedroom for me. This upstairs bedroom had a pitched ceiling so once I hit third grade, I could only stand full-height in the center of the room. But on the outside of this steeply pitched roof grew a cherry tree.

And come the Fourth of July, as its branches hung over the shingles, the roof became the best seat in the house for picking berries.

“I’ll arm wrestle you to see who gets to climb on the roof,” I said, challenging my older brother for this choice spot.

“You’re on!” he cried out, never backing down from a dare.

Luckily, I’d win from pure determination, so I never ended up in the worst picking spot - wedged between tree branches with twigs poking you from every direction.

Then, without fail, Mom would come out. “I don’t think it’s safe for you to be on that roof,” she said, gasping at the steep pitch.

“It’s okay,” I said, trying to change her mind. “These bumpy shingles are really good traction.”

“Down, now!” she persisted.

I would scoot back into the tree branches, but by this time my bucket was full. The roof truly was the best picking spot.

Once the berries were gathered, we would sell them for fifty cents to neighbor ladies, yet always saving a quart for mom to bake a pie.

Image result for antique cherry pitter glass jar images

First, though, she would make us pit the cherries. I really didn’t mind being the “pitter” as we had a hand-held contraption that was actually fun to operate. It punched out the pit one cherry at a time. I’d gently place the plump cherry on a dime-size slot that sat on top of the tin lid that was screwed to a heavy-duty glass jar. I’d wrap one hand around the jar, and with the other hand, I’d thump a big round knob that sat above the perched cherry. With one stamp, a rod would descend and poke right into the cherry, and the pit would plummet into the jar with a clink. By the time I finished the quart, my fingers were stained red, and juice drippings ran down to my elbow. But I didn’t care! It was one step closer to home made pie!

Mom would prep the kitchen. “I need ice cold water and Robin Hood flour,” she said, naming her two favorite ingredients for the flaky crust.

“And for the filling, I need the almond extract,” she added.

Yum, yum! Just that ¼ teaspoon of almond and the nutty scent would fill the kitchen, and my tummy would tingle. 

What is your favorite part of the Fourth of July?
Beyond cherry pie, Mom has other cooking tips, one involves a turkey carcess!

The Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

2 cups 500 mL
1 tsp 5 mL salt
3/4 cup 175 mL Crisco® All Vegetable Shortening, well-chilled
4-8 tbsp 60 - 120 mL ice cold water
  1. Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut chilled shortening into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes.  Work in shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.
  3. Sprinkle half the maximum recommended amount of ice cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoonful (15 mL), until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.
  4. Divide dough in two balls, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten balls into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick round disks.
  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days for ease in rolling.
  6. Roll larger ball of dough from centre outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle 2-inches (5 cm) wider than pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Centre the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate.
  7. Fill unbaked pie crust according to recipe directions. Roll out smaller dough disk. Transfer dough carefully onto filled pie. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch (2 cm) overhang. Fold top edge under bottom crust. Press edges together to seal and flute as desired. Cut slits in top crust or prick with fork to vent steam. Bake according to specific recipe directions,                                                                                                                                                                                                 CHERRY PIE                                                                                                              Ingredients
    4 cups fresh or frozen tart cherries
    1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    4 tablespoons cornstarch
    1/8 tablespoon almond extract (optional)
    Your favorite pie crust or pie dough recipe for 2 crust pie
    1 1/2 tablespoons butter, to dot
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar, to sprinkle

    Directions
    Place cherries in medium saucepan and place over heat. Cover. After the cherries lose considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add the almond extract, if desired, and mix. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    Use your favorite pie dough recipe. Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar.
    Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

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