Sweet Cherry Pie
* Makes one 9-inch pie
Note: If you are using frozen fruit, measure it frozen, but let it thaw before making the filling; if you don’t, you run the risk of partially cooked fruit and undissolved tapioca. Also, the tapioca is supposed to be ground into a fine powder. I don't have a coffee/spice grinder, so I placed the tapioca in a bag and slammed it a few times with my meat mallet to crush it. Scientific, I know. It didn't ever get to a fine powder and was still fairly coarse but it still dissolved perfectly.
*Makes 2 pie crusts (for 2 single crust pies or 1 double crust pie)
1 cup (2 sticks) very cold butter (I cut my butter into about 16 small pieces, put them on a plate and place the plate in the freezer for about 15 minutes before using in the recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water, plus an additional tablespoon or two if needed
2 red plums, halved and pitted
6 cups (about 2 pounds) pitted sweet cherries or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries, thawed, drained well and halved
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
For the pie crust:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix to blend. Scatter the butter pieces across the flour mixture and using a pastry cutter or two knives, work the butter into the flour until the pieces of butter are pea-sized and the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Throughout this process, the butter should stay very cold and firm. If you notice the butter is softening too much, refrigerate the mixture for about 10 minutes before continuing, although this shouldn't be a problem if you work quickly. Drizzle the cold water over the flour/butter mixture, and with a fork, toss the flour and water lightly to combine. The dough should start to pull together in a floury mass of dough. Add a tablespoon of cold water additionally at a time if the dough is too dry. The dough should not resemble a sugar cookie dough - in fact, it may still be a bit crumbly when you start to roll it out, but it will come together as you roll.
On a very lightly floured work surface, turn out the dough and using your hands, press it into a large, thick disk. As you press, it should start pulling together more. Cut the dough into two pieces. Loosely cover one of the pieces while you roll out the first.
Using the same lightly floured work space, begin rolling the dough starting in the center of the disc and rolling outward in short, strong motions. After every roll, lift the dough and turn slightly to make sure it isn't sticking to the counter (add additional flour as needed). When the dough has been rolled out to the desired size (roll it to about 11 inches for this cherry pie), roll the dough gently up on your rolling pin and unfold it into the pie dish. Lift the edges of the pie dough to ease it into the bottom of the dish (don't stretch it otherwise it will shrink in the oven while baking!). Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, trip the dough around the edge of the pie plate. For this double-crust cherry pie, leave a one-inch overhang and don't flute the edges yet! For a single crust pie, leave a slight 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold this excess overhang underneath the edge of the pie plate to form a thick edge. Flute the edges with your fingers. Refrigerate the pie plate while you prepare the cherry pie filling.
For the filling:
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Process the plums and 1 cup halved cherries in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of bowl . Strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to release all of the liquid. Discard the solids. Stir the remaining halved cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, tapioca, and cinnamon into the puree; let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
Transfer the cherry mixture, including all juices, to the dough-lined plate. Scatter the butter pieces over the fruit. Roll the second disk of dough on a lightly floured work surface to an 11-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll over the pie, leaving at least a ½-inch overhang. Fold the lower pie crust over the top pie crust and press to seal. Flute the edges using your thumb and forefinger or press with the tines of a fork to seal. Brush the top and edges with the egg mixture. With a sharp knife, make 8 evenly spaced 1-inch-long vents in the top crust. Freeze the pie for 20 minutes before baking.
Place the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until the juices bubble around the edges and the crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. I covered my pie edges with a pie shield about 20 minutes into baking at the 350 temperature.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack; let cool to room temperature so juices have time to thicken, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.