The deep south flavours in this cheeky cherry pie are going to make your heart sing!
Rich dark cherries brought together in a syrupy, boozy sauce of bourbon, brown sugar, honey and vanilla. All encased in a crisp semi-sweet pastry. Although this looks like quite technical pastry work, it really doesn't have to be. You can simply pop a pie top on and it's good to go.
Feel free to use ready made pastry if you want the most instantly delicious pie known to man (I won't judge you!) and make use of pastry or fondant cutters with the offcuts to decorate. The decoration is really only limited by your imagination. I've coloured some of the pastry with food colouring, but you don't need to, it's simply for aesthetics.
I'd love to see your creations!
Ingredients for filling
1kg frozen dark cherries
8 tbsp soft dark brown sugar (I like Whitworths, it has the perfect toffee like flavour)
2 tbsp runny honey
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 heaped tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp water.
Ingredients for pastry
(feel free to use ready made shortcrust if you wish)
500g plain flour
300g cold cubed butter
40g caster sugar
cold water 50ml
1 egg beaten to glaze
red food colour gel (optional)
You'll need a 23cm metal pie dish, buttered well and refrigerated.
preheat oven to 175c
Start by making the filling as this will need to cool thoroughly before assembly.
place frozen cherries, sugar, honey, vanilla essence, and bourbon in a saucepan and heat very gently until the cherries have defrosted and all the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to a simmer and pour 1/2 the cornflour mixture in, mix well. keep adding the cornflour and water mix until the sauce is thickened but not gloopy. (you may not need to use all of it.
Don't worry if the mix smells too boozy at this point. It's going to get baked and the alcohol smell will dissipate.
Set your cherry mix aside and allow to cool while you prepare your pastry.
The easiest and most consistent way of making pastry is in a food processor.
fix with the chopping blade.
Add flour and cubed butter and pulse until you have a sandy looking mix then add dribbles of ice cold water until your pastry starts to come together in a ball.
you may not need to add all the water, you don't want a sticky dough.
Turn out onto a floured worktop and bring together to form a smooth dough ball.
split into 2, then shape into discs, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll out one of the disks to £1 coin thickness and drape over the chilled buttered pie dish.
Be careful not to stretch the dough, pastry has incredible memory and it will shrink back.
Gently coax and push the pastry in place ensuring there are no air pockets.
When the base is covered take a sharp knife and trim all the edges off.
Reserve the edge remnants and cover in cling film to decorate the top.
Fill your pie base with the chilled cherry filling using a slotted spoon, you probably won't use all the sauce.
Roll out the pastry from the second refrigerated disc for the top of the pie to £1 coin thickness.
Using a pastry brush wet the rim of the pie base with beaten egg, this will ensure the top sticks well to it. Now lay the pastry over the top. ( i find it handy to drape it over a rolling pin to stop it splitting)
Press down to seal the edges and use a sharp knife to trim.
Now to decorate! Using the pastry trimmings you can cut flower shapes, leaves, long strips to plait or weave, hearts or stars. The choice is yours! Just ensure when you attach the pastry to the pie you'll want to use the egg wash as glue.
When you've finished your creation gently brush with beaten egg wash, and poke a couple of small holes to allow stem to escape in the top of the pie. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes then place in a preheated oven 175c for 40 mins or until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve hot or cold with cream, custard or vanilla ice cream!
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