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updated: 8/6/2012 11:43 AM

Life is a Pie Full of Cherries

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  • Chef Matt Zagorski won a blue ribbon for his oatmeal-topped cherry pie at the American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championship earlier this year.

      Chef Matt Zagorski won a blue ribbon for his oatmeal-topped cherry pie at the American Pie Council/Crisco National Pie Championship earlier this year.
    Joel Bissell | Staff Photographer



cup butter flavored Crisco, cold

cup whole butter, salted, cold

2 cups all-purpose flour

cup cake flour

1 tablespoons powdered sugar

teaspoon salt

cup sour cream

cup water

Oatmeal topping

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar

cup butter

Cherry filling

2 cans (size) King Orchards Montmorency tart cherries (packed in water), drained and juices set aside

6 tablespoons ClearJel

cup sugar

tsp. salt

2 tablespoons whole butter, cut into -inch pieces

1 cups reserved cherry juice

teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Egg wash and sugar for sprinkling on crust

Cut the fats into -inch pieces. Once cut, place the cut fats in the freezer to harden. Combine the flours, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor and mix for about 30 seconds. Once the dry ingredients are combined, scatter the very cold Crisco and butter pieces over the flour mixture and process thoroughly using 10 one-second pulses in the food processor. Make sure the mixture has no fat bits larger than small peas. If so, pulse one or two more times. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine the sour cream and water in a glass or bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the sour cream mixture over the flour mixture and with a fork use a folding motion to incorporate. Add enough additional water that the dough just comes together. It should be slightly damp, cold and hold together when squeezed.

Divide the dough into 2 piles, shape into balls, and flatten each into a 6- to 8-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Before rolling out, let the dough come to just below room temperature. This should take 6-7 minutes. The dough should be slightly cool to the touch. Roll to desired thickness and place in pie pan. Place the pan with the rolled out dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 40 minutes. After 40 minutes in the refrigerator, place the dough and pie pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.

While the dough is in the freezer, heat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare the topping and filling.

For the topping: Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and use a fork or your fingers to combine the ingredients. Set aside.

For the filling: Combine the sugar, salt, and ClearJel together in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the cherry juice, lemon juice, and almond extract to the dry ingredients and completely mix together. Add the cherries to the juice mixture and pour the whole mixture into the chilled pie shell. Make sure the cherries do not come to the rim of the pie shell. Dot the top of the cherries with the whole butter. Cover the cherries with the oatmeal topping. Brush egg-wash on the rim of the pie and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Place the pie on a sheet pan and place it on the floor of the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, move the pie to the middle rack, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes more until the middle bubbles slightly.

Serves eight.

Matt Zagorski, Arlington Heights

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