You know, I really don’t understand why cake seems to have all the fun. As far as I’m concerned, birthday CAKE is for chumps.
Did you know that I have a Warrant t-shirt? Many years ago, my co-workers and I went in costume to a fancy dinner (a tradition that would probably take too long to explain) dressed as the 7 Deadly Sins. Rather than tell people what we were dressed as, we just acted like our assigned Sin and had people guess. How do you dress as a Deadly Sin, you ask? Well, for Pride my friend Carly dressed as one might for Gay Pride, covered in glitter and rainbows. I was Gluttony – for obvious reasons. I wore Carly’s Warrant t-shirt, sweatpants, and stole everyone’s wine and pie all night. Now if you know Carly and I at all, you may not be surprised that one of the guesses as to our costumes was “YOU’RE EXAGGERATED VERSIONS OF YOURSELF!” which, to this day, is one of my favourite stories.
But I digress. The point is that I never gave Carly’s Warrant t-shirt back to her. Sometimes I find it fascinating to try and trace my thought and conversation process. Cherry Pie –> Warrant –> story about 7 Deadly Sins costume –> Stolen t-shirt –> Cherry Pie.
Anyways, PIE. More specifically, birthday pie. I am thankful that I have a group of friends who mostly understands the superiority of pie over cake, and thus never finds it strange to serve pie at a birthday. Cake? Who needs it! (Though let me say that there was, in fact, a cake at this particular birthday party that was DELICIOUS). At the end of last month it was my dear friend and facebook-wife’s birthday. I spent the night before with her drinking cheap beer and oversized gin and tonics, eating nachos and watching Taylor Swift videos, and then on Saturday – between the hangover and the brunch and the grocery shopping – I made her a pie. Now, her birthday is in late May, which makes it still just a bit too early for most Ontario fruit, but I figured dabbling in some U.S. cherries wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I found some from Loblaws that were dubbed “Colossal Cherries” because of their size. They weren’t kidding. Most of these cherries were too big to actually fit in my cherry pitter, which resulted in quite a mess. In my humble opinion, the cherries were a bit too large to suit a pie, but they did just fine.
And while it was a bit too cold for park-sitting, we shivered in our layers anyways, cut the pie with my swiss army knife, and devoured it while sitting in the twilight.
Colossal Cherry Pie (adapted, very slightly, from Smitten Kitchen)
Note: I’ve heard several people say that cherry pie is only good with sour cherries. That’s just not true! I refuse to believe that any fruit – especially the beautiful cherry – is not suited to pie. It’s just about making sure that you take into account the sweetness of your fruit so that you don’t add too much sugar. If you think that cherry pie tastes like that canned cherry filling you are missing out so, so much.
- 1 double crust pie dough
- about 4 cups of pitted cherries (invest in a cherry pitter – they are only about 12 bucks, and you can use them for olives too!)
- 4 Tbsp. potato starch (I virtually never use corn starch as a thickener. I prefer potato starch or instant tapioca)
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on the sweetness of your cherries)
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- lemon juice – 2 Tbsp or so
- 1/4 tsp almond extract – don’t skip this! It really adds something special. Unless you are allergic to almonds. Then skip it.
- about 1 Tbsp. coarse turbinado sugar and 1 egg (optional)
Combine cherries, potato starch, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and almond extract in a bowl. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie plate. Fill with cherry filling. It’s okay if it seems very full, the cherries will soften and sink when they cook. Roll out top crust, cover pie and fold over and crimp crust edges. Cut slits in the top crust to let the steam escape. If desired, brush the beaten egg on top crust and then sprinkle with coarse sugar – this adds a pretty, finished look and a nice crunch to the finished pie. Protect crust edges with tinfoil.
Bake the pie at 400 for 25 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 350 and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the pie is bubbly. Let cool for several hours and then DEVOUR.