Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pie # 5: In which I learn there are Blue laws in Chicago

I'm teaching myself to make pie. This one is the first one that is really done from my own recipe.

I thought I had port. Nope. So I thought, oh I'll just hop into the car and get some. Nope. You can't buy liquor in Chicago between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sunday. Silly me. I thought laws based on religious practices were contrary to the Constitution in America. Sharia lives!

Port cherry pie with raisins and pecans
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup shortening (yes, I use lard)
1/2 teaspoon salr
4-6 T apple cider

2 pints pitted cherries
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup crushed pecans
1/4 c port wine
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (packed) light-brown sugar
1/4 cup evaporated raw sugar (or  an evaporated crystal sugar)
1/4 cup wheat pastry flour
1 T corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 425

Toss the oats, flour and salt, cut in the shortening until crumbly. Add the cider one tablespoon at a time, and work it in with a fork, using only enough to wet the dough until it sticks together. Divide into two equal pieces and chill. (You can roll them into thick disks first if you like.)

Butter or spray a 9-inch pie plate. Remove half the dough from the refrigerator. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface to form a disc, 1/8-inch thick and 2 inches larger than the pie plate. If it's a weird shape, as mine always is, trim it and puzzle-piece it into a disc, lightly rolling again to make the extra pieces stick.  Use a spatula to help lift the dough and transfer it to the pie plate. Press it lightly in the plate to fit.  Trim, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Place in the refrigerator to keep cold. You'll use the rest of the dough to create a lattice top. Note: the oat crust is not quite as elastic as a traditional flour crust, so you have to handle it very gently.

For the filling, place the fruit, raisins and nuts in a large bowl. Toss with the port. Add vanilla, sugars, cornstarch and flour; mix thoroughly.

Lightly brush the bottom crust all over with the lightly whipped egg white; spoon in the filling and dot with butter.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut nto strips 3/4-inch wide to make a lattice cover over the filling. Trim the overhang to 1 inch. Moisten the edges of the crusts where they meet with a little water, then press them together lightly and turn them under. Crimp the edges.

Brush the lattice crust and the rim with the cream. Optional: sprinkle the surface with 2 tablespoons of turbinato sugar.

Pro tip from my pastry-chef friend Lindsay: On a baking sheet, lay some foil at least 6" large than the pie plate. Place the pie in the middle, then create a loose baffle to protect the edges of the crust from burning. Be careful not to let the foil touch the crust.

Bake 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake until it is golden and the juices are bubbling, about 50 to 60 minutes.  Let the pie cool on a wire rack before serving.

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