I have mentioned before my generous friend with a wonderful garden. This week he has dropped off several baskets of freshly picked goodies, including cherries and green walnuts. I am very excited about the walnuts as I have wanted to pickle walnuts for a long while and there will be a post about this coming soon. But first the cherries. Here they are in all their glory.
Aren’t they beautiful? I love the blushing appearance and they are deliciously sweet. I decided to make a cherry pie with a third of them and the rest have been used to make one of my favourite drinks, cherry brandy, which will make its own post soon.
I have never made a cherry pie with fresh cherries before as it is unusual to have a bounty of cherries in England. You really do need to have access to a tree, either yours or a friend’s, and you need to get in there before the wildlife does. To buy cherries from the supermarket for a pie would seem like the ultimate extravagance as the price can be astounding. Many a time the girls have convinced me to pick up a bag of cherries, for me then to nearly have heart failure when the price appears on the scales. So it felt like a very special treat indeed to be serving this pie for sunday dessert.
500g cherries, stoned
50g vanilla sugar (or ordinary sugar if you don’t have any vanilla flavoured)
1 dessertspoon cornflour
200g plain flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 -2 tbsp cold water
Milk to glaze
I macerated the cherries with the sugar and cornflour for about an hour, whilst the pastry was made and chilled but I don’t really think it is necessary. Mix them together well in a bowl.
Make the pastry by mixing together the flour and the icing sugar and rubbing in the butter using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and start to bring together into a dough, adding the water if necessary. You can do it all in a food processor too for ease. Shape the pastry into a flattened disc and wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
Once chilled, remove the clingfilm from the pastry and cut into two pieces one slightly larger than the other. Roll the larger piece to fit your pie dish and press into the sides. Pour in the cherry mixture, spreading to an even layer. Brush a little milk around the rim of the dish. Roll out the smaller piece to fit the top of the dish and seal well around the edges. Brush all over with a little milk and cook in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6, or on the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga for 25- 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve warm with cream or custard, but it’s good cold the next day too.