Farmer’s Market Cherry Pie

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

We were just strolling through the farmer’s market, and this just kind of happened. We got almost all of the ingredients at the market; obviously the sweet cherries, but also the ice cream, and even the flour! It’s hard to beat pie, but it’s nearly impossible to beat homemade farmer’s market pie.

The Journey:

You know who makes a good cherry pitter? A 4 year old.

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Cherry pie used to be my all time favorite pie. Now I’d probably say apple, but cherry pie still ranks up there. And you don’t get it nearly as often as apple.

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I love our little farmer’s market. It’s not the biggest market, but it has everything you need (and it’s certainly the closest market). A couple of fruit and vegetable stands, chef demos, cheese, meat, eggs, bread, (flour!), crepes, and flowers. What more could you ask for? It’s so nice to see all the familiar faces, both the vendors who have been coming every week for years, and the neighbors you run into when you’re there.

We go every possible weekend that we can, and regret every weekend we can’t make.

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The Verdict:

I know it’s almost a cliched debate at this point, but for my money you CAN NOT BEAT warm pie with vanilla ice cream. Don’t give me any of that cake nonsense. I mean, sure, cake is delicious. But moist, delicious, fruity, warm pie, with ice cream melting in your mouth?

Heaven.

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The Recipe:

Whole Wheat Crust recipe from Whole Foods. I did get both a full bottom and top out of this recipe.

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons very cold butter
  1. Mix flour with salt in food processor.
  2. Add cold butter and pulse in food processor.
  3. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. (It actually took me 3 1/2 tablespoons)
  4. Gather up and pat into a disc. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  5. When ready to use, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle. (It was very crumbly at first; I had to work it with my hands for a bit until I could roll it.)
  6. Gently fold into quarters using a little flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in pie plate and carefully unfold, fitting loosely and then pressing into place. Trim the edges and crimp for a decorative crust.

Pie filling recipe sort of derived from Food in Jars, but using directions from the Food Network.

  • 4 cups (1 quart) pitted sour cherries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well.
  4. Add the almond extract, if desired, and mix.
  5. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. (~10 minutes maybe?)
  6. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch.
  7. 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. Place top crust on and crimp edges with a fork. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape.
  8. Sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake for about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

The Case of the Bread in the Night

“Aw, shoot, we forgot to put the bread in the oven!,” I said.

It was about a quarter ’till eleven p.m. and I was just climbing into bed. Unfortunately two loafs of bread had already been rising on the stove, so it’s not like we could just put them away and save them.

“Just put it in the oven. We’ll hear the timer when it goes off,” said Sara.

“Are you sure? What if we don’t hear it?”

“Well, I’ll hear it for sure. And if we don’t, it will just keep going off until we do hear it.”

I wasn’t really sure that would be a good outcome in this situation, but I was so exhausted I did what I was told, climbed into bed, and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.

The next moment I was jolted awake by the timer going off on the oven. I leaped out of bed before I had time to wake up, grateful that I had heard the timer. I stared blearily at the clock. Something about the time was nagging at me. It seemed wrong.

11:45?

In my haste, I slammed into the foot board while rounding the corner, waking Sara.

“Is it 11:45?” I asked as I ran from the room, confused.

The bread didn’t seem to be burned, but it was pretty dark and I didn’t seem to be thinking clearly. Just to be sure I turned on a light to check. In my sleepy state I somehow flicked the garbage disposal switch instead of the light, even though the two are nowhere near each other. Perhaps the bread was a *little* dark, but maybe not.

Surely if it had been cooking for an hour instead of half an hour, double the correct time, it would look burned, right?

I stumbled back to the bedroom.

“What time did we put the bread in? Wasn’t it like 10:45?”

“I don’t know. I think so, but that doesn’t seem right.”

Well, apparently it was right, and the timer had been going off for half an hour without waking us. It turns out that our bread is a hearty creature who laughs in the face of an extra baking. It was surprisingly edible. The crust was sort of thicker than usual, and a slice had to be eaten with plenty of water to avoid dehydration, but other than that it was fine.

I think it is safe to say we won’t be doing THAT again anytime soon!

(and by that I mean listening to my wife)

Closer and closer to Halloween

On Friday, Evie and I tried our most ambitious baking experiment yet: a pumpkin roll.

Pumpkin roll is easily in my top 2 deserts all time. I could probably eat one by myself, in a sitting, if I had to. But this is the first time I ever tried to make one. People kind of talk it up like it is hard, so I was a little worried, but honestly it wasn’t really that much trouble. And it was deeeelicious (even though half of it was eaten by a bunch of barbarians).

On Saturday we hit up the Halloween thing at the Lincoln Park Zoo, where we are members. It was a cold, wet, miserable day like you wouldn’t believe. The kind of day where nobody should be outside, everyone should be inside, under blankets, with something warm to drink. So traipsing around the zoo wasn’t really the greatest idea. Especially since Evie couldn’t wear her coat, because that would have ruined her awesome bat costume. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but most of the indoor enclosures were closed for the day, meaning we couldn’t get out of the elements. Luckily the bat enclosure wasn’t closed, so we were able to get some pictures of Evie in her bat costume looking at the actual bats. We did not stick around for the music or trick-or-treating, but Evie did ride on the carousel, so she was happy.

Finally, on Sunday we carved pumpkins. Readers of this blog will not be surprised that Evie requested that her pumpkin be crying, with tears running down its face. That being said, I am quite proud of the way hers turned out, very sad looking. Evie was a good model, fake crying for me whenever I needed it, to get the look right. She wanted my pumpkin to be angry / scary and Sara’s to be happy. She helped do hers, but got bored long before everything was done. That’s okay, I had fun doing it. Plus I have a bunch of roasted pumpkin seeds to eat now!

One last thing to mention about the weekend, I opened my first jar of pickles! They were very good. If I had been given that jar by my grandma, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. But, since I was the one actually making them, I was maybe a little over critical of them. They were a little vinegary and a little salty. Still, all in all, not too shabby for my first time out!

“Daddy is better than ice cream”

She probably only said that because I made her eggs for a snack and then we baked banana bread.

I’ve been on quite a baking tear lately. Evie loves to do it, measuring, dumping, mixing, and it’s something that can pretty easily eat up a big chunk of our day (in a good way). And the best part is, you actually have something to show from it! Something delicious.

So, after our excellent trial of making some Halloween cookies, Evie and I took it to another level. We started by making banana bread on Friday. Then, on Sunday, we made waffles in the morning, followed by oatmeal raisin cookies. Finally, I took on my most ambitious project yet, making homemade spinach/chicken/bacon calzones from scratch (meaning using the bread maker for the crust).

The calzones were a lot more work than I was expecting, perhaps cooling my ardor for baking a little bit. They turned out good (despite Sara’s efforts to sabotage my recipe), but I’m not sure it was worth the effort. Still, I think I will try to think of baking as a fun activity to do, like going to the park, or doing a craft project. My mom is an excellent baker, and when I was growing up, I remember that we almost always had some sort of baked desert lying around somewhere. That is something I remember fondly from my childhood.

Finally, since we were talking about my waffles and all, Sara and I were having a little debate. Obviously, we will settle this like adults, with a web poll. The results of this poll are final, and cannot be questioned in any way.