Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cherry Almond Lattice Pie

Havn't had the time to bake much lately since I came back from my Melbourne trip. Fathers' Day is coming soon, I'm thinking a cake is in order. Now, to decide between the Dad's perennial favourites -mango, or rum and raisin?

 Cherry Almond Lattice Pie

But first, back to clearing my existing baking backlog posts - this cherry pie was made some time ago when cherries were in season. Yes, I dared attempt a lattice pie in our hot and humid country. I'm blaming the weather for my poorly patched together pastry you see above. Ha. To me, tart/pie pastry is notoriously difficult to handle, as our warm climate pretty much makes the dough soft and warm to touch almost immediately. Even after refrigerating the dough, it is still pretty hard to roll it out and shape it nicely. I wish I could bake in cooler weather, just to see if the weather is really the determining factor (like how I blame it so ha).

Pitting cherries have never been easier. That is, if only you have the right sized cherries. I got a cherry pitter last year, and it's been useful using it to pit cherries, but only if the cherries are not too big. I couldn't fit larger cherries into that pitter, so that's a pity. Anyway, the pitted cherries resembled olives don't they?

My cherry pie turned out rustic looking, but that's okay, cos what matters first and foremost is the taste isn't it? The pastry turned out buttery and flaky, but I had an issue with the cherry pie filling. It was partly my fault for I had reduced the amount of corn starch (I was afraid there would be a corn starch taste) so the filling was still a little runny when I sliced into the warm pie. After cooling down significantly, I refrigerated the leftovers and when I checked on it the next day, the filling had firmed up considerably. If you look carefully at the photos, you will get what I mean. (Spot the difference!) The pie tasted just as good the next day after warming it up in the toaster. Best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Pie and ice cream is always a good idea.

Cherry Almond Lattice Pie (adapted from Jonathan at Candid Appetite)

Pie dough
250g all-purpose flour
75g almond flour
12g granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
227g unsalted butter, diced (kept chilled)
1 tsp almond extract
5 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed
1 egg, for egg wash
2 tbsp raw sugar for topping

Combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until just combined. Add the cold diced butter and pulse for a few times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the almond extract and water and pulse until the dough comes together and forms a ball. If the dough appears to be dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time until dough is slightly sticky and come together when you press on it with your fingers.
Divide the dough in half and wrap each half tightly with plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to two days.
Remove the dough from the fridge about 5 minutes before rolling to slightly soften it.
Preheat oven to 215°C.
Roll out one disc into a large circle, on a lightly floured surface, to about ¼ inch thick. The disc circle should be big enough to cover a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer the dough onto the dish and fold under the excess dough hanging over to create a smooth edge. Fill the pie dough with the cherry filling (recipe below).
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the other dough disc in the same manner as the first. Trim into a large circle and cut into 10 ¾ inch strips.
Cover the cherry filling with the strips of dough, forming a lattice. Trim the excess lattice pieces of dough and crimp the edges together with a fork to seal the ends.
Lightly whisk the egg with a splash of water to create an egg wash. Brush the entire top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
Place the pie over a baking sheet and cover the edges with foil paper, leaving the center exposed. This will prevent the edges from burning before the pie is completely baked. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 175°C and continue baking for 1 hour or until the top and edges are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cherry filling
170g granulated sugar
15g cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
5 cups whole fresh cherries, pitted and stemmed
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the pitted and stemmed cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
Gently toss all the ingredients together until evenly combined.
Drain most of the cherry juices, then gently scoop the cherry filling into the prepared pie dough crust.

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