Monday, August 13, 2018

It's Pie Time. Cherry Pie With Cherry-Infused Whipped Cream.


Cherry pie is on the menu today.
You'll need at least a quart of fresh cherries.

 Whenever I make pies, I'm always working on the pastry dough for the crust and trying different recipes and different combinations of ingredients.  Just making small steps that might make a big difference in the finished product and figuring out the reasoning behind it.

Today, instead of regular all-purpose flour, I used cake flour.  (Actually, I used both, but I only had
1 3/4 cup of cake flour so I used that up plus a cup of AP flour.)  The reason I'm trying the cake flour is because cake flour has a lower protein content.  The low protein flour allows you to get the light and airy structure of cakes.  Cake flour doesn't develop as much gluten as AP flour, which means I should end up with a more tender crust.  Gluten helps create structure and density and determine texture in your baked goods, so it's great for making bread, which is why bread flour has a high protein content.

FYI, here are the approximate protein contents of common types of flours:
Bread flour  14-16%
AP flour       10-12%
Pastry flour   9%
Cake flour     7-8%

Exact protein contents will vary by brand, region, and also by country, although the name of the flour is a fairly good indication of how it's supposed to be used.   Generally, pastry and cake flours can be used interchangeably. (I've never even seen pastry flour in the stores.)  If you want bread flour, but only have AP flour, you can bump up the protein content by adding a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten (although if you don't have bread flour on hand, I find it hard to believe you would have vital wheat gluten lying around).  If you only have AP flour and want a lighter cake or pastry flour, you can approximate this by adding a tablespoon corn starch to each cup of AP flour to lower the protein content.

I'm also using both butter and shortening in my dough.  I like the combination.  Crisco shortening will produce a tender, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pie crust and the butter, as always, gives you the flavor.  Both fats should be kept cold during the crust-making.  This produces a flakier crust.
Using ice water as your liquid to add to the dough helps keep those fats cold during processing.

For mixing your pastry dough, I recommend either using your fingers, a pastry cutter, or using the pulsing feature on your processor.  You do not want a perfectly homogeneous dough.  You want those crumbs and you want multi-sized crumbs. This is what gives you a flaky pastry.  Work the fat into the flour to create flour-coated pellets. The fat is cut into the flour to form different sized crumbs - a very coarse meal - and then just enough ice cold water is added to get the mixture to hold together when you squeeze it by hand.  Ice water keeps the fat pellets distinct.  Room temperature or warm water would soften and melt the fats.  The dough is then formed into a ball and allowed to chill and rest.  When the dough is rolled out, the fat is flattened into flakes.  When the crust bakes, those different sized flakes of butter melt, creating steam pockets, which is what gives you a flaky texture.

The addition of vinegar inhibits gluten production, helping to tenderize the crust and keep the dough soft.  And don't worry - you don't taste the vinegar in the finished product.

That said, let's make PIE!

Rosie's Pie Crust
(Makes 2 pie crusts)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Crisco, cubed and chilled
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 TB white vinegar, cold
3 TB ice water

Combine flours and salt.  Using pastry cutter, or pulsing with food processor, work cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture until crumbly.  Do not over-process.  Slowly add in cold vinegar and water, pulsing until mixture can just be squeezed together into a ball.  Working quickly on a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a pliable ball, then slice in half and pat into two disks.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight.

This is the crumbly mix of flours, Crisco, butter, and salt.

Slowly, add in the liquids, pulsing a few times.

Place the scraggly mixture onto a lightly floured surface
and quickly work it into a ball.

Divide in half and flatten halves into disks.
Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Now that I have a basic pie crust, I'm making cherry pie, with the lovely fresh cherries that are available now.

First off, make the most of your cherry-pitting efforts and save those pits!
I'm making cherry-infused whipped cream using the pits.  This will give my accompanying whipped cream a lovely blush color and a delicate cherry flavor.


Cherry-Infused Whipped Cream

Steep 1/2 cup cherry pits in 1 1/4 cups heavy cream at least four hours.  I let mine sit in the fridge, covered, overnight.

Drain cream, discarding pits, and whip.  It helps to have cold beaters and a cold bowl.  You get a better volume with cold.  Beat cream until soft peaks form, then beat in about 1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste.  Taste test and you might want to enhance the flavor with a 1/4 tsp almond extract.

To pit cherries, I place the cherry on top of a wine bottle and poke it with a chopstick.  The pit falls into the bottle, leaving the cherry intact.

Like I said, save the pits.

I ended up with 1/2 cup pits which I steeped in 1 1/4 cups heavy cream overnight in the fridge.

Drain pits and discard.

Make whipped cream out of that pretty cream.
Start beating the cream on high speed and when soft peaks form, whip in 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar. (To taste.)
Keep whipping until you get ... whipped cream.  Taste test and add a little almond extract, if desired.  Maybe 1/4 tsp and taste test.

Now, I've got my pie dough made.
I have my pitted cherries and steeped cherry cream.
I'm ready to make cherry pie.

Cherry Pie Filling
4 cups pitted cherries
juice of one orange
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup tapioca
3/4 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients and let sit at least 15 minutes.
Pour cherry mixture into prepared crust.
Roll out the second pie dough disk and cut into lattice strips.
Weave the lattice strips over top of pie.
Brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TB cream).
Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top.
Chill for 30 minutes before baking.
Bake at 400° for about 25 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350° and rotate.  Bake another 30 minutes, covering if crust is browning too much.
Let sit at least an hour before slicing.
Serve with cherry-infused whipped cream.

While the cherries are sitting, roll out the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a round about 1/8-1/4 inch in diameter.
Lightly flour the surface and roll the dough up over the rolling pin.
Just like this.
And unroll it over a deep dish pie dish.

Press dough into pie dish.

Cut off excess, then decoratively crimp edges.

Those cherries are waiting for you.

Pour cherry mixture and any juices into the prepared crust.

Now, take the second disk of dough, roll it out, and cut into strips for the lattice.
And weave it!

Brush with egg wash.

Sprinkle lattice work with turbinado sugar.

Ready for baking.


 Serve with that pretty blush whipped cream.


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