Cherry Almond Pie by Paul Mollica
230gm/2 cps pastry flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. finely ground blanched almonds (use a blender)
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tbsp.), cubed and frozen
4 1/2 oz cream cheese, cubed/sliced
2 Tbsp. ice water
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar (white will work in a pinch)
1 1/2 lbs sour cherries, pitted.
generous 3/4 cups/6 oz. sugar, superfine preferred but not essential (adjust sugar to your preference, but don't underdo too much or the filling won't set)
2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
Do this step one day in advance.
Sift first three ingredients, stir in nuts. In food processor, pulse dry ingredients with butter until butter is reduced to size of peas. Add cream cheese, then pulse until consistency of clumpy sand. Pulse water, then vinegar. Dough should hold together loosely; if not, add a spot of water (do not overdo). Transfer to sealable plastic gallon-size plastic bag and kneed. Store in fridge overnight (up to three days).
Next day, roll out crust. Warning: the dough goes soft very fast, esp. in the summer months, so move quickly (leave the part you are not rolling in the fridge).
Thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) sift/combine sugar, salt and cornstarch. Combine with cherries, add extract, and thoroughly stir. Let sit 10-60 minutes. Pour into crust and top.
Pre-heat oven 20 minutes at 425F. Bake pie in lower rack on cookie sheet. Time for 40-50 minutes; pie will bubbly and puffy. Use a foil ring around the edges after 15 minutes to prevent darkening.
Pairs Well With
Paul's sour cherry pie took First Place in the Fruit Category
One key to the success of this recipe is using fresh cherries in season. Sour cherries have a short season in the Midwest in June/July, so be prepared to pounce on them. We eat several of these pies in season. I usually buy 6 quarts from the farmer's market to set aside pitted and frozen for later use. Frozen cherries work very well.
Photo by Jerry Coyne, used with permission http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013