I look forward to cherry season every year. It's a short but sweet couple of months where I quite literally gorge on them at every opportunity. Our cherry season is still quite a way off, but the imported cherries from the USA have been delicious, abundant and downright cheap this year, and I couldn't help but turn a few into a lovely pie. I know they have travelled an awfully long way and I should be cooking seasonally, but this cherry addict kinda doesn't care. I also tried blushing pink Rainier cherries for the first time this year and loved their sweet flavour, although they didn't make it into the pie as we I ate them all first!
It was actually a stunning winter's day on Sunday when I made these pies, warmer outside than in the house so we opened up the windows and let that almost-warm breeze flow through. A nice reminder that spring is on its way. My thought process while I was rolling out the pastry went a little like this...
Is 11am too early for Pimm's? It's perfect weather for it. I should make another recipe with Pimm's one of these days. Those Pimm's and Pomegranate Macarons we had in Melbourne were amazing. My kitchen is covered in cherry juice, it looks like a crime scene. Really must buy a cherry pitter. I wonder if Pimm's would go with cherries. I could muddle a few in a glass... I could put Pimm's in the pie filling!! DING DING!!
- Vanilla Pastry
- 450g plain flour
- 120g pure icing sugar, sifted
- 225g cold butter, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 3-4 tablespoons iced water
- Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a fork) and raw sugar, for baking
- (Cherry & Pimms Filling)
- 400g fresh cherries, pitted (you could also use frozen if fresh are unavailable)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup Pimms
- 2-3 tablespoons raw sugar, depending on how sweet your cherries are
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 tablespoon water
To make the pastry, combine flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 3-4 tablespoons iced water and vanilla extract and pulse until mixture just combines. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). For the pie filling, place half of the pitted cherries into a saucepan with lemon juice, Pimms and sugar and cook for 5-10 minutes until cherries start to soften and the liquid comes just to the boil. Stir together cornflour and water in a small bowl or jug and pour into the mixture. Cook on high heat for another 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir in the remaining cherries. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To assemble pies, roll two-thirds of the pastry between sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm thick and use to line 4 buttered pie pans. Fill with cherry mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to 3mm thick and cut into 1cm strips. Place strips over tops of pies in a lattice shape, press down and trim edges. Brush tops with egg wash and scatter with raw sugar. Bake pies for 20-25 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.