Lessons from a cherry bourbon vanilla pie

Finding Tiffany's Summer Cherry Pie

I’m calling it – fruit pie season is here!

This Sunday, I broke out the pink wine and got to work on a cherry pie. I’ve only used canned filling in the past, so I thought it would be fun to use real cherries. And here’s where I tell you it wasn’t all sunshine and rosé.

Lesson #1: Let frozen cherries defrost before baking or you can attempt to de-pit fresh cherries, which, no thank you. I did not, and I literally had to sop up the pie because it was so liquid-y. I also did not add any flour/starch to help it stick together…lesson(s) learned.

Lesson #2: More spices! I put a little bourbon in the mix and some more nutmeg and cinnamon would have really complemented the flavor and counteracted some of the watered down flavor.

With all that in mind, here’s an edited version of the Cherry Bourbon Vanilla Pie filling:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 TBS vanilla
  • 3 TBS bourbon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bags of defrosted cherries
  • 2 TBS flour
Source: SimplyGluten-Free.com
Source: SimplyGluten-Free.com

My favorite gluten-free pie crust recipe is from SimplyGluten-Free.com. Not only will it fool the best of gluten-eaters, it’s really easy to make with vegan butter and not quite as delicate as other gluten-free dough. This means you can make it through the haphazard parchment-paper-to-pie-dish flip with a much higher rate of success.

Her recipe calls for the following pie crust ingredients, which I’ve modified below, in a food processor:

  • ½ cup vegan, soy free Earth Balance (one stick)
  • 2 to 4 TBS ice water
  • 1¼ cups Bob’s Red Mill Baking Flour, Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour, or a mix of both plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Now for some more learnings:

Lesson #3: Use the food processor over a hand or stand mixer. It cuts and distributes the butter so much faster, so the butter stays cold. Cold dough is happy dough.

Lesson #4: You can adjust the salt and sugar ratio to taste. Since fruit pies can be sweet naturally I prefer less sugar in the crust. For chocolate pies, I use a little more salt to delicious results. That said, the vegan butter adds a little saltiness to the recipe, so I recommend going no more than 3/4 tsp salt.

Lesson #5: Instead of doubling the recipe for a top crust, blend two separate batches. I can’t point to any science behind this, but my dough always turns out better this way.

Despite not turning out quite as expected, I’ve still eaten almost all of it. Maybe contemplating baking and eating a whole other pie before I hit the beach next weekend, too…

Finding Tiffany's Cherry Pie