The very first time we celebrated a birthday here on the blog, it was Adam’s 31st way back in 2009. You can view the horrendous photographs on that post, but I won’t subject you to them here and now. All the sentiments are the same, and I remain truly grateful that Adam was born 35 (!!!) years ago, and we found each other…
But seriously, you’re here for the pie. Everyone likes pie. Well, maybe not everyone, but we’re not talking about those people. Sometimes, there’s really nothing quite like a hefty slice of a juicy fruit pie. When Adam requested cherry pie for his birthday (again), I realized that I haven’t made pie crust since that first birthday post many years ago.
I’m a much more confident baker now than I was back then, and I was excited to see what I could come up with, cherry pie-wise.
Neither Adam nor I are huge fans of the double-crusted pie, so I opted for a crumb-topped cherry pie with a perfectly flaky crust on the bottom, loaded with TONS of tart pie cherries. I went with frozen cherries because, well, it’s not exactly cherry season here in Chicagoland, but fresh would be amazing. I made a few mistakes that I’ll be sure to correct next time:
- I left the berries frozen when I put them in the pie. This meant that the baking time was almost 3 times what it would’ve been had they been thawed.
- On that note, the filling wasn’t as well-mixed as I would’ve liked.
- Frozen berries meant less crumb topping. Next time, I’ll use all the crumbs that I made, even though it may seem like too much.
- I didn’t grease the pan!
I started by making the pie crust, using this recipe from chef Aaron Sanchez. The only change I made was substituting half the water for straight-out-of-the-freezer vodka. The fast evaporation causes a perfect crust.
The filling was simple: 5 cups frozen pie cherries, 1/4 cup corn starch, and 1 cup sugar. As I said, I put these together frozen, but next time, I’ll thaw them first, then mix in the sugar and corn starch.
The crumbs were simple too: 2/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, and 1 stick butter, pulsed together in the food processor.
I used a super-deep pie dish, allowing for the maximum number of cherries per slice. The baking time was insane, almost 2 hours! I guess it makes sense though, since a frozen pie takes about that long… It was worth the wait though.
The slices were gigantic, mostly from the deep-dish pan. I loved every sweet, tart, and buttery bite!
Most importantly, Adam loved every bite too! This cherry pie was the first in a series of treats I’ll be making as part of Adam’s birthday present. I made him a “Treat-a-Month” book, complete with hand-drawn illustrations.
Yes, I’m a complete and total nerd. I’m good with it though, and Adam loved his gift!
Deep Dish Cherry Crumb Pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
Crust, adapted from Aaron Sanchez
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 2 Tablespoons ice water
- 2 Tablespoons freezing cold vodka
- 5 cups tart pie cherries (if frozen, thaw then measure)
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup flour
Add the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal.
While pulsing, add the water and vodka.
If the dough is too dry, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time until you can gather the dough into a ball.
Press the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Mix together the cherries, sugar and corn starch in a sauce pan.
Warm until combined, and allow to cool before adding to pie crust.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of the food processor.
Pulse until well-mixed.
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Roll the dough out into a 14″-16″ circle.
Transfer the dough to a buttered deep pie pan, at least 1 1/2″ deep.
Press the dough into the pan, and form a decorative edge. (I used a fork!)
Pour in the cherry filling.
Dump the crumb topping on top of the cherries, and evenly spread it out.
Decorate with any extra pie crust dough.
Place the pie in the oven and bake 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F. Bake until the crust is brown and the center of the pie is bubbling. Cool completely before serving.
I have to ask though… are you a cake or pie person?