26 June 2008

Dragonwell and Cherry Pie: The World's Most Perfect Breakfast

I've been getting some flack lately about my choice of breakfast foods, but today's lineup will win over that eggs or pancakes-only faction.

There's a special time here every June that makes me happy, for just a minute, about the heat, the humidity, the stench of a city under the sun: the appearance of sour cherries.

As I was breezing through the farmer's market two days ago- I already had enough fresh produce to feed a small nation, so I wasn't planning on buying anything- something small, round and fire-engine red caught my eye. Could it be? Those luscious, dark sweet cherries have been out for a few weeks now, and will be throughout the summer, but their more petite, tart and delicious cousin is far more elusive.

Sour cherries don't travel or keep as well as the sweet variety, and due to their high acidity, can't be eaten straight out of the fridge. Most people don't bother with them, but they're making a grave mistake. The season only lasts for a few tragically short weeks, and then all you're left with are fading red stains on your fingertips, a lingering taste of heaven in your mouth, and a tear of longing in your eye.

So go out, now, and get some sour cherries. Make this pie. Then pour yourself a nice cup of tea- nothing goes better with a slice of cherry pie than green tea. I paired it with Dragonwell, a smooth Chinese green with subtle fruity notes and a mild, round finish. I think a delicate Japanese green, especially an Uji, would be an excellent match as well. Unfortunately I just ran out of that, so I'll have to get some more soon and try it- if only the pie lasts that long.

Cherry Pie
Makes: 8 servings.

1 double-crust pie dough (pate brisee), chilled, separated into equal-sized disks
5 cups sour cherries, pitted
1 1/4 cups sugar
3-4 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Roll out half of pie crust to fit in 9-inch pie dish; gently drape in dish, not stretching the edges, and form a rim.

2. Roll remaining half into 9-inch circle and cut into 8-9 strips. On a piece of parchment paper or cookie sheet, form lattice by laying down 4 strips vertically and weaving remaining strips in horizontally. Refrigerate both halves for at least 30 minutes.

3. Place cherries in large bowl, and mix with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, water and almond extract. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes.

4. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour cherry mixture into pie crust and dot with butter pieces. Cover with lattice, tucking edges under rim.

5. Bake pie for 30 minutes, then slip a baking sheet underneath the dish. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 35 minutes more, until thick juices are bubbling up.

6. Let pie cool for several hours before slicing, or refrigerate overnight and eat for breakfast.


Anonymous said...

i will pay you good, american dollars to make me this pie.

avra said...

did you play the warrant song as you prepared this pie? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdDxz2bkfhE

ana dane said...

i did not. what is wrong with me?

Anonymous said...

Pie For Breakfast!

I can be convinced!