Cherry Pie After Sunday Supper
Easy as pie, that’s what this always welcome dessert is. It’s so easy I don’t even need a pie plate or even a measuring cup except for adding the water. I just make a pastry crust, open a can of cherry pie filling, and dump it into the center of the pastry, fold the edges over in little pleats, sprinkle it with some large sugar crystals and bake it in a 400° oven for 40 minutes.
The pastry crust is the part that takes a little time, but not much. I’ve made so many pies, I don’t even use a measuring cup any more, but it’s roughly 2 and 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup shortening, 1 tbsp salt and 3/4 cup cold water. Technique is what makes a flaky crust. I call mine the smush and swirl technique, because to cut in the shortening I first shave little curls of it off of the ball with the back of a fork and drop them around in the flour, then I smush those flakes against the sides of the bowl, and swirl the bowl around, smushing all around the bowl until there are no longer any thick lumps of shortening. I know I’m doing it right when there are lots of flakes in the flour as thin as pencil shavings.
Always add the coldest water to the flour and shortening once you’ve made those delicate flakes. The secret to success here, is to just barely mix the wet into the dry until it comes together. The less you mess with it the better those thin flakes stay in the dough. When you can no longer see any unincorporated flour, wrap the ball of dough in film and let it chill a while (1/2 hour is enough) in the refrigerator. When it’s chilled, cut the ball in half and roll it out to as big as you can get it, on a flour dusted surface with a flour dusted pin.
I can get a pie done in under an hour most times and I almost always have all the ingredients to make a pie of some kind. When your crust is nice and flaky, any thing you put in it will taste good. I’ve made chicken pot pie, sweet potato pie, peach pie, chocolate pie, lemon meringue, and countless others. Cherry pie seems to be a favorite pie among family and friends and I am grateful because it is the easiest one to do. Today is no exception. So I’ll go to my small group’s meeting with everyone’s favorite pie and praise the Lord!