Once you’ve gotten used to baking with the “normal” ingredients of flours, sugars, milk, eggs, etc., the idea of changing that up can be rather frightening. And I have to admit, I’ve had some pretty big flops in the kitchen in the “non-traditional” baking world.
But, I just can’t quit. I welcome the challenge (not the frustration and shouting that often follows) and know it’s all about trial and error and patience. Yeah, that P-word is not one of my favorites…
But it’s summer, and there are few desserts that shout summer as much as a sour cherry pie.
It was a sad year for these beautiful fruits. My home state of Michigan, the state that grows more sour cherries than anyone else, suffered a huge loss of around 90% of their crop this year. A crazy warm front came in early spring, and then lots of frost followed it, so those baby buds couldn’t even compete. Hey, I’ve heard of this thing called global warming, have you?
Funny story, Michigan was actually somewhat able to survive, due to sour cherries imported from Poland. Rather interesting, but apparently the Polish variety are similar enough that the Michigan fruit production industry could make do.
Back to pie. Gluten free baking is definitely a challenge, or can be for a novice. But if you can set some time aside, as well as a pile of something to throw every now and then, you’ll do just fine. And the end result (even if the cherries are from the NW)? The flakiest, most delicious gluten-free crust ever. I hate the time-consuming-over-night-forced-crust as much as the next guy, but for a stellar crust, you really have to do some planning the night before.
There are only a few ingredients, but simple is really the best sometimes.
Flaky Gluten Free Pie Crust
You’ll notice my mixture of fats. But this is really what sets this crust out. I try my best to cook and bake as healthy as possible, but pie crust is one of the exceptions to that rule, slightly. If you want a flaky crust, you have to have some good fats. But mixing a few here will give you the best of both worlds.
The lattice is where this dough gets tricky. Gluten free dough is sticky and may not come together as nicely as you’d like. If this is the case, cheat a little and reform strips atop of the pie. It’ll work out fine, I promise!
If lattice work is too daunting, relax and just make a flat-top. It’ll still taste and look beautiful.
Now for my filling.
This part is pretty easy, but feel free to deviate as you see fit.
I recently got a cherry pitter and let me tell you, LIFE CHANGING. this little $5 tool make the art of cherry desserts really shine.
So pit 5 cups of sour cherries to start. Once they’re pitted, throw them together with 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of corn starch, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and a dash of salt.
Put your filling inside the pie before assembling the top crust and you’re golden! (you like that one?)
Cover crust of pie lightly with aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn and then bake pie in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and the crust is golden-brown.
Look, my lattice isn’t perfect, but I’m ok with that. Practice makes perfect, right?
We’ll get through this gluten-free baking thing together, I promise. Until then, have a piece of pie.