Before I made this pie (and then ate a quarter of it during a revision break), I’d never actually eaten cherry pie before. I think this is down to two factors: I basically never bake with cherries (yo, £4.50 for a 400 g carton. I’d normally rather just eat them straight up) and I also don’t bake pie that much; check my archives, you’ll see how true this is. I adore pastry, especially this almondy, mega buttery one but I usually find that there’s just TOO much fruit in pies for my taste. I want a generous pastry:fruit ratio, man. I want butter.
I haven’t really been around all that much pie in my lifetime, save one pie: Gooseberry pie.
As my dad grows gooseberries, my mum always ends up making pie with them (because other than making fool, there’s not much else you can do with them) using a special pastry – the amount of butter in it and the use of ground almonds makes it a verrrry delicate dough which sinks down and hugs the fruit as the pie bakes. The resulting pie has a bumpy, kinda cobblestone-y look to it which is ADORABLE. The key to success there is the large, rounded shape of the berries..
..and what’s similar between gooseberries and cherries? Their shape! So I subbed the gooseberries for whole, pitted cherries which had been soaked in amaretto (*insert thumbs up emoji*) and voila, the same bumpy pie effect was achieved.
(Err do you see what I mean about the amount of pastry I require in order to enjoy pie?)
It was a bit more effort than I was anticipating to pit the cherries (if you don’t bake with cherries, you probably won’t own a cherry pitter…e.g. me) but I found using a paring knife and a pastry tip was easy enough. It just looked a bit like I’d had a knife accident and bled everywhere for a lil bit :/ so make sure you don an apron/don’t wear a white top if you’re in the make-shift cherry pitting game.
I think that cutting the cherries in half and removing the pits that way would also work but the bumpiness wouldn’t be as extreme soo it’s totally up to you! oH and if you DO happen to have gooseberries and wanna use them instead Go. For. It. You might just have to increase the sweetness of the filling cos gooseberries are tart az.
Otherwise I really recommend trying pie my way (I’m talking about how it’s like 50% crust) or if you really have to make it fruitier then double up the filling and just don’t tell me you did that.
For the Filling:
- 1 1/4 lbs (550 g) whole cherries (weighed then pitted)
- 3 tbsp amaretto or kirsch, (optional)
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp all purpose flour
For the Pastry:
- 1 1/3 cups (160 g) all purpose flour
- 6 tbsp (80 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (70 g) ground almonds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp (80 g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- Pit the cherries and place into a bowl with the amaretto/kirsch, sugar and flour. Stir together and set aside.
- Make the pastry in a food processor: blend together the first 4 ingredients. Add in the butter and pulse until a crumbly texture is achieved. Add in the egg, egg yolk and almond extract and blend until a smooth dough forms.
- Make the pastry by hand: in a bowl, stir together the first 4 ingredients. Add the butter to the bowl and rub into the dry ingredients using your fingertips until a crumbly texture is achieved. Add the egg, egg yolk and almond extract, stir/knead together until a smooth dough forms.
- Divide the dough into two balls, flatten them into disks, wrap in plastic wrap then chill for at least 4 hours (it's quite soft dough, so it's easier to handle when it's cold).
- Once the pastry has chilled: Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Roll out one disk of pastry on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper using a lightly floured rolling pin until it's a couple of inches larger than an 8-inch pie tin. Flip the parchment paper and pastry over onto the tin and peel away the paper so that the tin is now lined with the under layer of pastry.
- Fill the pastry-lined tin with the cherry mixture and roll out the second disk of pastry on a piece of floured parchment paper as before. Gently flip the parchment over on top of the cherry filling and peel the paper away so the pie is covered by the top crust of pastry. Crimp the edges of the pastry together with your fingers or a fork and then bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Decorate with a shower of superfine (caster) sugar and serve.