Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy?

Are you wondering what I did with my 30 pounds of cherries? Well, we still have some left, but I've been busily pitting and cooking the last few days, and we're down to the last 2 or 3 pounds. A special thanks goes out to Echo who came out and spent the day with me on Thursday to get jam and pies made, despite the fact that she has a month-old baby and three other munchkins. And thanks to Russ for rearranging his schedule to make it possible.

I had never had cherry jam, but this jam turned out especially good. Maybe it's because our cherries are sweet and not sour cherries. I just used the directions that come with the pectin packet, except that I added extra pectin (about a quarter packet for every packet it called for). Echo and I made 7 half-pints and 4 pints of jam (I think) and two pies. She did awesome with the crust, it having been her first time, especially. It was so light and flaky. And it really helped to have her extra experience with the jam because I am pretty flaky.

Here's the pie recipe (sorry, no pics, it got gobbled up too fast). The filling comes from Southern Food, and the crust is Delores Pendleton's recipe (of Grandma Tobler's Bakery). Mmm . . . I think I'll go cut myself another piece.

Cherry Pie
Filling: 4 cups pitted cherries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

Crust: 2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup cold water

In a saucepan, cook cherries in water 10 minutes. Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a bowl; add to cherries. Cook cherry mixture until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool before filling pie shell.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour and salt; cut in shortening. In a separate bowl, beat egg and add liquids. Stir liquids into flour mixture until moistened. Form a ball and divide dough in half; roll out halves separately. Place bottom crust into pie pan, then pour cherry filling into shell. Cut vent in top crust. Moisten edge of bottom crust with water; place top crust on pie and press edges to seal. Trim excess with knife.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Then Friday and Saturday I made 5 dozen cherry muffins to freeze. I was a little nervous when I finished mixing the batter because it was so thick, so I added extra milk. The texture turned out great, kind of a cornbread texture. Adam doesn't love it, but I think it's a matter of preference. They were a little bland, so I doubled the sugar in the second batch. Here's the recipe, with my adjustments:

Cherry Muffins
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pitted cherries, halved
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients; add cherries and stir gently to blend. In a separate bowl, beat egg until thick and light in color; stir in milk and melted butter. Quickly stir wet mixture into dry mixture. Grease 12 muffin cups. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin(s). Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, 15-20 if making mini muffins.

Saturday I also made a batch of freezer jam--5 half-pints. I haven't tasted it yet, but it seemed a fairly good texture. Freezer jam is so quick and easy, it makes me happy. In my experience, it doesn't taste as sweet or set up as well as cooked jam, but it seems a bit fresher. At least with strawberries, we'll see with cherries.


Shelli said...

Wow! You are like little Suzy Homemaker! I am impressed! I can't believe I missed all the fun! Kaden LOVES cherry pie! Do you have any cherries left?

Kel said...

Go Rach! Sounds like a busy, but delicious time. Now I am wishing I had some cherries to make pie - or maybe just the pie to eat.