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Monday, November 19, 2012

Prize Winning Cherry Pie in Star Crust

Pastry
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Secrets to a good pie crust: chilled ingredients and chilled dough. Place flour, salt and sugar in a  food processor. Add the pieces of butter and process approximately 10 -15 seconds or until it resembles "coarse meal."Add ice water a tablespoon at a time while machine is running, just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not mix longer than 30 seconds.

Roll dough out on a piece of plastic wrap. Press down slightly. Chill for at least one hour.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.
After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself, crimping as desired. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, while you roll out the remaining pastry and make the cherry filling. Meanwhile, remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch circle. Make a pattern or using a 2-1/2 inch star cookie cutter, cut out about 20 stars. Place the stars on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.
Cherry Filling
4 cups pitted sweet or tart canned or bottled cherries, drained with 1/3 cup cherry juice reserved
1 cup sugar, or to taste
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 drops of red food coloring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
Glaze
2 tablespoons cream
Sugar
Garnish
Softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, corn starch, salt, lemon juice, vanilla, and gently toss to combine. Add the 1/3 cup reserved cherry juice and red food coloring. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes and then pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and dot with the 2 tablespoons of butter.
Lightly brush the rim of the pastry shell with the egg wash. Starting at the outside edge of the pie, place the cut out pastry stars in a circular pattern on top of the cherries, making sure the tips of the stars are touching. Once the top of the pie is completely covered with the pastry stars, brush the entire surface with the cream. Sprinkle with a little granulated white sugar.

Place the pie on a larger baking pan, lined with parchment paper, to catch any spills. Bake the pie for about 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake the pie for about 25 - 35 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown color and the cherry juices are starting to bubble. If the edges of the pie are browning too much during baking, cover with a foil ring. Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool for several hours. Serve at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store any leftovers for 2 - 3 days at room temperature.


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