February 22, 2011
My office had another pot luck last week. It was scheduled on Valentine's Day, and had something of a Valentine's theme: Everyone was supposed to bring food that was (at least in part) red or pink. I decided that fresh cherry pie might be appreciated by my colleagues, so the weekend before the potluck, I spent a fair bit of time in the kitchen, cooking a pie for only the second time ever. Or, I suppose you could say last weekend was both the second and third time I'd made a pie, because I ended up making two cherry pies.
I used the recipe for Sweet Cherry Pie that was published in Cook's Illustrated last year. The recipe had some pretty neat futures, including pureeing some cherries and red plums to help make for a thicker sauce, and it was made with the rightly-famous Cook's Illustrated vodka pie crust, which had turned out great the first time I made a pie. I'd been thinking about making that recipe from the first time I read it, and was glad for this month's potluck theme for giving me a good reason to make it.
Things didn't go quite as neatly this time as they did the first time I made a pie. This time I found the dough for the pie crust to be a bit too sticky, to a degree that made it difficult to work with. Beyond that, I had a tough time with the top crust, especially on the first pie. On that pie, the top crust ended up separating from the bottom crust in several places. This allowed the filling to bubble up and over quite a bit, which made for a fair bit of mess on the baking sheet I'd placed the pie pan upon. Still, better the cookie sheet than the oven... that really would have been a mess.
The second pie went a bit easier than the first, and turned out looking quite a bit neater than did the first one. There were a couple small spots where a bit of the filling bubbled out from the edges of the crust, and a bit more did the same at one of the vents on the top crust, but these were pretty minor issues. The second pie looked pretty good, really.
Interestingly, the filling of my cherry pie didn't end up being very red at all. The frozen cherries I used were pretty red, but by the time the pie was finished baking, the filling was a uniform, dark, purplish color. Nobody complained about it, though.
The pies tasted pretty good, with a strong, sweet cherry flavor, and the crust was wonderfully light and flaky. I honestly wasn't as happy with the flavor of these pies as I was the Apple-Cranberry Pie I made back in November, but it was still pretty good. My colleagues seemed to appreciate it, anyway, so mission accomplished.