Tuesday, July 29, 2008
From pits to pies....
You know that old saying, "If life's a Bowl of Cherries, what am I doing in the pits?"
Well, yesterday I was "in the pits" all day long.
A friend from town asked if I would like to come pick cherries from her sour cherry tree. She said the last few years she had to beg people to com pick. This little tree was LOADED with gorgeous red cherries. Thankfully, two of my sons were along so they helped pick too. We picked 3 six-quart Schwan ice cream pails full. I didn't want to seem greedy since there were others who wanted to pick, and I knew that there was more work in those buckets than meets the eye. I had never picked nor pitted sour cherries before, so this was going to be a new experience for me all around.
Before we left my friend's house, she invited us in for fresh cherry pie. How could we resist? We didn't. OH MY GOSH....it was delish! The best pie EVER! My boys agreed, and I knew I just had to get these cherries processed so I could make cherry pie like this for my own family and friends.
I asked my friend how she pitted her cherries and she said she just squeezed the pits out by hand. Her hubby liked to use a cherry pitter, but he said it was pretty slow going. I checked online for any tips and found one that worked like a dream, once I got the hang of it. You take a paper clip, bend it open into an "S" shape. Then you stick the loop into the stem-end of the cherry and pull out the pit. It takes a little doing, but it worked. I pitted all three pails by myself yesterday and I figure it took me approximately 1 hour per pail. Then I froze the pitted cherries in 1 quart yogurt cartons. Each quart will yield one cherry pie, and I ended up with 13 quarts.
Immediately after pitting all those cherries, I made my favorite big batch pie crust recipe, rolled out two pies and 4 extra crusts for the freezer. Guess what my family had for breakfast this morning? Cherry pie and milk! (I had coffee too) Oh My!! Now this is living!
Big Batch Pie Crust
5 c. flour
2 c. lard (or crisco)
1 T. salt
2 t. sugar
Mix flour, salt, sugar together.
Then cut-in the lard until the looks like small peas.
Now put one egg into a 1 cup measuring cup and beat it with a fork.
Add enough cold water to the egg so that it equals 1 cup.
Add water/egg gradually and mix gently until dough is moistened.
Makes 7 single crusts. Dough freezes very well.
Fresh Cherry Pie
~Betty Crocker Cookbook
4 c. pitted sour cherries
1-1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 to 1/2 t. almond extract
2 T. butter
In a large bowl, mix flour and sugar together first and then add cherries. Coat cherries well and pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle with almond extract and dot with the butter. Add second crust on top. Vent with slits, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake at 425* for about 35-45 minutes or until juices begin to bubble through slits. Cool completely before serving.
Serve with ice cream and hot coffee or milk.
Tip: When using frozen sour cherries, allow them to thaw first, drain and follow the recipe as written.