Yesterday was officially Pi Day…you know the 3.1415926535… kind of pi. Lots of clever word games with pi out there.
This was the cooking lesson chosen by unanimous consent. First, as I picked up the gkids from school for one of our cooking days, the lobby of their private church school was filled with all kinds of pie. Seems there was a fundraiser going on, and Pi Day was also Pie Day for the kids. Resisting the very gorgeous homemade pies of all stripes….the only way to satisfy these kids’ sweet teeth was to make one of our own.
Besides…daddy was coming to the dinner we were about to prepare together, and Daddy looooves pie. So pie it was. I had some early Washington strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the fridge (I try to keep stocked up on these superfruit) but what we really needed was cherries! But cherries are pretty much out of season, so what’s a Nana to do?….stalk the canned fruit aisle to see if there were any good canned organic cherries. I considered frozen ones, but they are usually those dark sweet cherries…and we needed pie cherries.
I have very mixed feelings about cherries because as a kid, I used to raid Grandma Ruby’s cherry trees for these sweet treats. I have had my share of green cherry belly aches, scraped knees from trying to skinny up or falling out of her trees, but also have her wonderful cherry pie recipe that is so delicious, you can’t resist it. So I definitely felt we needed cherries to represent! But I was looking for “pie” cherries – those smaller, tart, paler cherry cousins to the lush dark red sweet ones I usually find in the grocery store. I have not found fresh ones here in the Northwest.
So the next best thing was Oregon Montmorency Cherries – great for pies.
We fixed other things for dinner..(green stuff for St. Patty’s Day) but we will get to that later!
Here’s a pictorial review of our process
So we had our cherries. I like to combine these with other fresh berries to make a very flavorful pie (with less sugar needed!). So into the pie plate we dumped a pint ofraspberries and a pint of blueberries along with 2 cans of our cherries. We opted to make more of a cobbler (one crust) but we decided it still counted as pi(e)! We added 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 4T of organic cornstarch, and a splash of lemon juice mixed into the berries. Next, dot 2 pats of butter (cut into tiny squares) over the top of the berries.
Next we made pie crust in the food processor. 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup cold butter cut in small cubes, 1/2 t salt, and about 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse the butter into the flour and salt until it is crumbly and well mixed. Dribble enough cold water through holes in the lid while spinning until dough just comes together in a ball. It may or may not be exactly 1/4 cup. Don’t over blend. The dough will be crumbly. (For the old fashioned 2 crust recipe, see the recipe section).
Turn out on a floured surface and form into a flat disk. Refrigerate in plastic wrap for 30 minutes (this is really important for flaky crust).
When chilled, roll out, starting in the center and pushing outward, into a rough circle. When sized appropriately, roll up on rolling-pin and transfer to the pie top. Cut some slits in the top crust and crimp the edges. Kids love this part!
Sprinkle the pie top with a pinch of sugar and bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until crust is browned and pie is bubbly!
Can I just say….Pi(e) Day was a big hit!