July 06, 2011

Cherry-Apple Pie

Over the recent holiday weekend, I decided it was time to bake a pie again.    I decided to stick with the tried-and-true Cook's Illustrated vodka pie crust recipe, but to experiment some with the filling.   The local stores have been having good cherries for awhile now, so I decided to do a cherry pie, but I wanted it to be different from the last cherry pie I made.  I decided to grate a couple apples in a box grater to make a Cherry-Apple Pie.  I also decided it was time to try my hand at topping a pie with a lattice crust.

Things went together great.  The pie looked great, and more importantly, it tasted great.   I was a bit worried about how the filling would turn out, because I didn't realize until the pie was half-baked that I'd forgotten to add a thickener, but I needn't have worried too much.   The filling was just a tiny bit juicy, but not to a degree that was really problematic.  Still, I corrected that oversight in the recipe below.  

There's really not a lot else to say about this one.  It turned out well, and I've had enough pie successes now that I think I'm ready to try my hand at a more traditional pie crust next time, instead of sticking with the tried-and-true Cook's Illustrated standard.

Cherry-Apple PieCook's Illustrated's Famous Foolproof Pie Dough
2 1/2      cups unbleached all-purpose flour + more for work
2            tablespoons granulated sugar
1            teaspoon table salt
12          tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
1/2         cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 8 small pieces
1/4         cup cold water
1/4         cup vodka, chilled

4            cups fresh, pitted sweet cherries
2            sweet apples (I used Pink Lady), peeled and grated
                on the large holes of a box grater
1/2         cup granulated sugar + more to sprinkle
1            tablespoon instant tapioca, ground
1            tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2         teaspoon ground cinnamon + more to sprinkle
1/8         teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1/8         teaspoon table salt

1            large egg yolk
2            tablespoons half-and-half

Making the Dough:
Process 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt in food processor until combined, then add butter and shortening.   Process until dough just starts to collect in clumps, about 15 seconds (the dough will resemble cottage cheese curds).  Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula and distribute it evenly around the processor blade.  Add remaining cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the dough mass has broken up.   Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over dough.  Use rubber spatula to fold and press the dough until the liquid is absorbed and the dough is tacky and sticks together.  Divide dough into two balls and flatten each into a disk.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. 

Prepare for Baking:
Lightly spray a pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove one disk of dough from refrigerator.  Unwrap and place the dough on a generously-floured sheet of waxed paper.  Roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle.  Lift waxed paper and flip the dough circle into the pie plate, leaving at least 1 inch of overhang on the sides.  Ease the dough into the plate gently with fingers.  Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 40 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position.  Place a baking sheet on the oven rack and heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Making the Filling:
Add the pitted cherries, grated apple, 1/2 cup sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to a medium bowl.  Gently stir to combine. 

Assembling the Pie:
Roll out the second disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll out, using same method as with the first disk.  Slice the dough into inch-wide strips. 

Transfer cherry mixture into the dough-lined pie plate.   Over pie filling, lay one half of the dough strips parallel to each other, leaving a gap between them.  Weave remaining dough strips to cross the first batch of strips.  Trim ends even with bottom crust, then fold the bottom crust over the lattice strips and crimp the crusts together.  

Whisk together egg yolk and half-and-half.    Brush the egg mixture on the crust lattice and the edges of the crust.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar.

Baking the Pie:
Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling bubbles around the edges of the lattice, about 30 minutes.

Transfer pie to a wire cooling rack.  Let the pie cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.  Cut into wedges and serve.


  1. I'm so want to come to Knoxville... but I'm 500 miles away. I'm eating lunch at the local pie shop due to you.

  2. Here's hoping it's good pie!

    Seriously, though, since it sounds like you're sometimes in our neck of the woods, let us know the next time that's planned. It would be good to get together with another food blogger to eat some good stuff and share cooking (and blogging) tips and so forth.