One-Crust Cherry Pie
This simple dessert – sweetened cherries baked in a free-form crust of crumbly sweet pastry – is a doddle to make and utterly delicious. A cherry pitter (also useful for stoning sloes and olives), makes light work of what is perhaps the most labour-intensive part of the preparation.
- 400g fresh cherries, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons icing sugar (or more if your cherries are on the sour side)
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
FOR THE PASTRY
- 125g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 25g icing sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 75g cubed unsalted butter, fridge-cold
- 1 egg, separated
- ½ tablespoon ice-cold water, plus a little extra if needed
- Granulated sugar, for dusting
- Start by making the pastry. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and lightly pinch the butter into the flour with your fingertips (or pulse very briefly in a food processor) working the mix as little as possible. Add the egg yolk and water to bring the mixture together into a smooth, soft dough. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap it in cling film or put it into a freezer bag, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cherries. Pull away their stalks and remove their stones using a cherry pitter (alternatively, halve each cherry and pick out the stones). Put the pitted cherries into a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice, icing sugar and cornflour.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Tear a piece of greaseproof paper about 40cm square and put the disc of chilled pastry on top. Lightly dust the top of the dough and a rolling pin with flour, and roll the pastry out into a 30cm circle. Don’t worry if the edges are ragged or uneven – that’s part of the charm of this sort of pie. Brush the surface of the pastry with beaten egg white and transfer the greaseproof and pastry to a large baking sheet (don’t worry if the pastry hangs over the edges of the tray at this stage).
- Mound the cherries in the centre of the pastry, and use the greaseproof pastry to help you turn the edges of the pastry of over on top of the cherries, crimping and patching as you go. You’ll get the neatest result if you work methodically around the pie – but it’s meant to have a slightly ramshackle look so don’t worry too much. The important thing is to ensure that the there are no cracks or gaps in the crust, which will allow the lovely cherry juices to escape.
- Tear off any overhanging greaseproof paper, then brush the pastry all over with beaten egg white. Generously sprinkle the granulated sugar all over the crust, then bake the pie for around 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp and the cherries tender.
- Serve the pie warm with some double cream, crème fraîche or ice cream.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK