Sister in Law of Food invited me to a BBQ and asked me to bring along a dessert. I have never made a cherry pie before, but I had about two pounds of lovely fresh cherries and it seemed like a classically good summertime treat.
I broke out several cookbooks to search for a simple answer to my question, "Can I bake a cherry pie?" My choice was easy, I picked Amy Sedaris's
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence , a highly entertaining and surprisingly effective cookbook by the star of Strangers with Candy.
"Antonia's Cherry Pie" was the name of the recipe, and making the pastry dough was a snap in my kitchen aid. The filling was quite simple as well, except for the pitting of the fresh cherries. Starting with a paring knife, I struggled roughly pitting a few, by cutting them in half and removing the stone as cleanly as I could. It took a lot of time to do this and I figured there must be an easier way. I ended up watching many youtube videos on the subject and came upon this little gem.
I used a new paperclip, washed for safety, and found this method highly superior to the knife. It still took about half an hour to pit the two pounds of cherries, but if you don't own a cherry pitter like the Leifheit Cherry Stoner, the paperclip will work fine. One tip, if you have them, try a few different sizes of paperclips on your cherry until you get the one that's comfortable to work with, but that won't split the cherry.
I used youtube to learn more about crimping and latticing the crust. Unfortunately, I saw the crimping video after I laid out the bottom crust. I had not left enough dough around the edges for good crimping, but I adjusted as much as I could with what was there. It was not so pretty a pie, but in the end, I was thrilled with how it came out.
When I tasted it, I realized, this was the first fresh cherry pie I had ever tasted. All of the cherry pies I have ever eaten, at restaurants, from the grocery store, from the freezer... they all use canned or frozen cherries. Fresh Bing Cherries so far surpass frozen or canned cherries, it is like eating a completely different food. Furthermore, I noticed as I ate the pie, the more whole and complete the cherry was, the better it tasted. The whole cherries would pop in the mouth releasing the juices in a delicious rush. The buttery lattice crust with raw sugar sprinkling was the perfect accompaniment to the darker sweetness of the fresh cherries. All of the hard work pitting the cherries as cleanly as possible turned out to be well worth it.
So to answer the question, I can bake a cherry pie, as long as I have a paperclip handy.