I have always been a pie girl. It's true and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Given the choice between cake and pie I will always choose pie...well unless there is some tiramisu lying around...I do love me some tiramisu.
I was trying to place where my love for all things pie started. It wasn't my either of my grandmothers. My grandma Copeland made some great pies at Thanksgiving but that wasn't the beginning of my love of pies. The beginning was out in California where I spent the first 9 years of my life. We lived in Los Angeles and shared a cabin up in the mountains with another family. We would go up there for weekends and vacations. The house sat just above the cloud line so that during the day it looked like we were sitting atop a sea of billowy white, and then at night it was all swept away to reveal the twinkling lights of Los Angeles below us. There was no TV at the cabin so my time was spent wondering around the dirt roads and woods that surrounded the house, climbing rocks and avoiding rattlesnakes. I don't remember how long the drive was to get to our cabin. I think it took somewhere between, "This is taking forever" and, "Are we there yet". BUT, on the way up to the cabin there was a pie shop. The owners lived in a house right next to the shop and spent their time filling the mountain with the smells of fresh fruit pies. I kid you not, at a certain point we would turn a few bends in the road and all of a sudden the smells of fresh baked pies would waft into the windows of our Subaru, and we still had a ways to go before you got to the shop. They were the pie sirens of the mountain. I seem to remember our favorites being cherry, strawberry rhubarb, and banana cream. We would make our purchase and try our patience until we got up to our cabin. So for me pie is tied strongly to the sounds of the California winds whistling against our cabin, and the smells of dirt and warm pine needles. I have always been a pie girl.
So this month when Abby Dodge announced pie as our #baketogether challenge for this month I was all over it. Lucky for me my family also loves pie. Double lucky for me sour cherries just happen to be in season and sour cherry pie is also one of my family's favorite pies. Triple lucky for me I'm only feeling sick at night now so I was actually able to make a pie for my family. Abby Dodge had made some wonderful and adorable Very Berry Mini Pies. I was sorely tempted to give hers a go but when I called my farmers market and heard that sour cherries were in I had another plan enter my mind.
One of our favorite jams that I make and can every year is a sour cherry rhubarb jam. I love it because while it is still sweet like a jam should be it is also slightly tarter than your average jam. It is perfect on just about everything and I wait patiently for sour cherries to come into season so I can whip up a new batch. It occurred to me that the sour cherry rhubarb combination would probably work just as well in a pie, so I tweaked a couple of recipes I used, combined them, added in some new flavors and the sour cherry rhubarb pie was born. I made two of them and entered one of them into a local pie baking contest. While I didn't win I still had fun and was happy to know that I had the test pie to come home to in my refrigerator.
We actually like this sour cherry pie better than the regular sour cherry pie I had been making every year up until this year. I see it making a repeat appearance next summer as well.
Sour Cherry Rhubarb Pie
Adapted from Epicurious recipe for Cherry Pie
(Makes one 8-9 inch pie)
- Enough dough for a top and bottom crust. I use Alton Brown's recipe for pie crust. If you choose to use his make sure you double the recipe.
- 3 cups of fresh sour cherries; washed and pitted
- 2 cups of rhubarb; washed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of sugar. Plus another spoonful for sprinkling on top of crust before baking
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 tablespoons of minute tapioca; finely ground in a spice grinder
- 1 egg; lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of brandy
- Milk for brushing the top of the pie
- Make pie crust dough. Divide the dough into two balls, keep one ball slightly larger than the other, and set in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes, an hour is better, overnight is fine too.
- Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife. Then using the back of the knife scrape the seeds out of the bean and put them in a bowl.
- Add the 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, flour, and ground tapioca to the bowl with the vanilla bean seeds. Whisk to combine. Then add the cherries and the rhubarb. Stir to combine everything. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Right after you get the filling together pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
- After the filling has sat add in the egg and the bandy and stir to incorporate everything well. Set aside.
- Butter an 8-9 inch pie plate and set aside. When the dough has been chilled remove the larger dough ball from the refrigerator. On a surface that has been dusted with flour roll out the larger ball of dough with a rolling pin into a 14-inch round. Fit the dough into the pie plate taking care to press the dough gently into the sides of the pie plate. Trim off any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.
- Put filling into the crust and put in the refrigerator to keep cold while you roll out the top crust.
- Roll out the top crust on a surface that has been dusted with flour into a 12-inch round.
- Cover the pie with the top crust, trimming off any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang underneath itself, then crimp the edges around the pie to seal the crusts together. Brush the top of the pie with the milk, and then dust the top of the pie with a spoon full of sugar. Cut 3-5 vents in the top of the crust with a sharp knife.
- Bake the pie on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil, and reduce the temperature to 375°F. Continue to bake the pie until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling in the center, this will take anywhere from 45 minutes- 1 hour longer. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool completely.