Saturday, November 28, 2009

Apple Cherry Pie

2009.11.25 Apple Cherry Pie
Homemade apple pie. There aren't many desserts more All-American than this one, don't you think? This means of course that, me being me, I had to find a twist to this classic. Luckily, I think I hit the jackpot right off with this recipe for apple pie with dried cherries.

Ever since I made those black forest cupcakes last month, I've harbored a growing fascination for cherries. As luck would have it, Sam at Oh! Nuts (a great online seller of bulk nuts, dried fruits, and more) offered me some free product samples. Before I knew it, a pound of dried sour cherries (plus some nuts I'll tell you about later) rested in my hot little hands. Man, were these good! Juicy and flavorful straight from the resealable package, they plumped up beautifully when baked with juicy apples in pie.

2009.11.25 Apple Cherry Pie
This recipe is so wonderful though that I'm sure any dried cherries or even cranberries would taste great. My personal touch was to add just a splash of cherry brandy to highlight the naturally intoxicating flavor of cherries. It's a little off the beaten path, I realize, but please give this pie a try. Slightly warmed and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, this was, as my boyfriend put it, "everything I could want in a pie."

P.S. - If any of you has tips for making pie crust by hand/pastry blender, please share them in the comments! Probably due to the shortening, this crust turned out flaky despite my mistakes. But I'd really like to improve my technique.

2009.11.25 Apple Cherry Pie [Collage 2]
Apple and Tart Cherry Pie [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 8 to 10

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I recommend using a combination of tart and sweet apples for pie. According to Cooks Illustrated, good tart apples are Granny Smiths, Empires, and Cortlands; good sweet apples are Golden Delicious, Jonagolds, and Braeburns.

2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
Scant 1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 to 3 1/4 lb. apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced crosswise
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup cherry preserves
2 tsp Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)
2 Easy Pastry Dough disks (Recipe below)
1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Stir first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in apples, dried cherries, preserves, and Kirsch.

Roll out 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish (I used Pyrex) by folding in half and then in half again, then centering and unfolding it over the pie dish. Make sure the dough closely lines the pie dish. Lift the dough at the edges to adjust it if necessary, but do NOT stretch it or it will shrink back when you bake it. Brush the inside and top edge of the crust with egg glaze. Spoon the filling into the crust.

Roll out the second dough disk on a floured surface to a 13-inch round. Cut out small hole from the center or whatever decorative shape(s) you like (I used heart-shaped aspic cutters). Tranfer this dough the same way as the bottom crust and center it over the filling. Seal the top crust to bottom crust at edge. Trim double crust overhang to about 3/4 inch. Fold under and crimp edge. Brush crust (except edge) with glaze. You can cut additional decorative shapes from re-rolled pie dough trimmings and attach them now if you'd like. Make sure to then brush these with glaze as well.

Place pie on a baking sheet and bake until the apples are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Check the pie at 50 minutes to 1 hour. If it looks to be browning too quickly, cover the top with foil and continue baking. Once out of the oven, cool the pie completely on a rack. This pie can be made 1 day ahead and stored covered at room temperature.
2009.11.25 Apple Cherry Pie [Collage]
Easy Pastry Dough
Makes 2 crusts

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I stubbornly insisted on making this the old-fashioned way "by hand" using a pastry blender and ran into a few issues of my own making. I'm sure if you follow these directions, it will in fact be an easy dough to make =).

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup frozen vegetable shortening, cut into large pieces
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (about) ice water

Blend first 4 ingredients in a food processor for 10 seconds. Add shortening; process just until very coarse meal forms. Beat egg with 2 tablespoons water; add to processor. Blend until large moist clumps form, adding more water if too dry. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Flatten each piece into disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.)


  1. Looks absolutely delicious. Apple and cherry is an unbeatable combination. Love your cute little heart shapes!

  2. I love the love hearts - I shall be decorating mine like yours next time I make a pie!

  3. Looks divine! Cherry and apples sounds like a winning combination.

  4. do you have a stand mixer? i've watched ina garten make pie crusts, scones, biscuits in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment (mix all dry ingredients in the bowl and then put in the small cubes of frozen butter, and let it mix until in crumbles, then the ice water/cream/egg/whatever liquid agent that is going into your crust/scones/biscuits. now i swear by it! i make an all-butter pie crust that tastes incredible and has the perfect flaky texture. i used to use the food processor but think my crusts come out much better in my stand mixer.

    your pie looks gorgeous!!

  5. I insist on making my crusts by hand as well. This pie is beautiful! Cherry? and apple? YUMMY!!

  6. I still have yet to succeed at really making a pie crust, so unfortunately I have no real advice for you. This looks amazing though. The sour cherries must have contrasted SO nicely with the sweet apple filling. Cherries in general are just really great things. I wish they were in season for longer so that I could eat them constantly.

  7. I adore applie pies! Apple desserts are my favorite kind.

    I spotted a recipe that uses dried cherries, but I have never tried dried cherries so I was little apprehensive, but reading that think they are delicious, I'm going to give them a try!

    Tips for crust: more ice water, (I always double the amount). I don't know if you used a pastry blender but those things work reaaaally good cutting up butter!

  8. Wow this looks like a gorgeous pie!!! Apple and cherry?!?! A combo of my two favorite flavors!

  9. That crust just looks perfect. Gorgeous! I like all the little hearts floating around - very creative. Interesting combo of flavors too. I wouldn't have thought to add dried cherries to an apple pie, but I bet it's delish.

  10. This looks like a fabulous twist to the classic apple pie. Love the hearts, it adds a sweet and charming touch.

  11. Sour cherries - I've been looking for them! You are lucky to have access to them and the idea of adding them to the pie sounds lovely. I hate making pastry by hand because as you said, it can create lots of problems - especially as you have the keep the dough cool right? Thanks for sharing.

  12. Awww how darling are those heart shaped cut outs? Brilliant, just brilliant! :D

  13. Hmm, your pie crust looks pretty good to me. I'd probably make it by hand also, so it wouldn't get a chance to overmix. I'm such a fan of apple pie, and adding cherries is some good thinking.

  14. Absolutely love the heart shaped cut out! Lovely pictures and perfect crust.

  15. This looks so yummy- I love the hearts on top. I think the cherries in it sound absolutely delicious and would totally create that extra special twist! Wonderful pie.

  16. I'm so pleased you all seem to like cherries as much as I do! As always, I really appreciate your comments.

    Carmen - Thanks for the tip about using my stand mixer with paddle attachment. I'll definitely try that out, especially since it has fewer parts to clean than the processor.

    Joanne - Oh man, I LOVE fresh cherries so much, but I'm glad this recipe uses dried ones so I can enjoy them year-round!

    Danielle - I did buy a pastry blender just for this purpose and will try to keep your other tip in mind next time.

    Trissa - I really recommend ordering from Oh! Nuts, especially if you can't find dried sour cherries elsewhere. I've bought from them even before they offered me samples. They're fast and the food is good! You're right about the importance of keeping the dough cool. In fact, next time I plan to stick it in the freezer more between steps.

    Irina - Thanks for the input. I know you're quite knowledgeable about pastry so it's good to hear I'm on the right track!

  17. I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving and now I wish wish wish I had seen yours prior to baking mine! I have a ton of dried tart cherries and the best cherry preserves I've ver tasted, on hand. Dang!! Your pie not only looks beautiful (don't even get me started on that gorgeous crust) but sounds so mouth watering. The tart cherries would have offset my 'too sweet' pie brilliantly. Oh well, I'll have to just do it again and hope I an give some of it away lol Oh, beautiful photos too!

  18. Perfect pie! cherry and apple must taste really great in that pie. and the crust looks to die for. :) tq for the idea

  19. I work the dough using the Fraisage technique of smearing the dough out with the heel of your hand. There is a video on the Gourmet channel on youtube that is exactly my recipe that uses the technique. You won't believe how easy the dough handles using this technique and how amazingly flaky the crust bakes. Here's the link:

  20. I love cherries, in my top 3 favorite fruits, and since I love apple pie, and I need lunch....ugh....hungry.

  21. Hey this is SO beautiful! Great photography, and I'm sure they tasted wonderful :D

  22. The combo of apple and cherry sounds really good! Your pie looks great--love the little hearts!

  23. Lisa - I do wish I'd posted this sooner for your sake, but I made this for Thanksgiving myself. Methinks it'd be lovely for Christmas too! The cherries really do balance the sweetness very well.

    Anonymous - Thanks so much for the link. It's very informative and I can't wait to try that technique next time.

    Thanks to everyone else, too!

  24. This sounds and looks wonderful. I love you twist on an old favorite!

  25. I am addicted to dried cherries. I love them in quick breads, muffins, and granola, but adding them to pie is even better. That must have been a fantastic pie!

  26. Thanks, Kathleen!

    Susan, I'll definitely have to try the rest of my dried cherries in all of those. You and your blog are always such an inspiration!

  27. thank you for visiting The Sugar Bar :) was v sweet of you to leave a comment. you have such a lovely blog and i love the pictures! this apple pie looks delicious and so rustic. topped with vanilla ice cream and voila! x

  28. This looks gorgeous! Absoloutely beautiful pictures!

  29. the day i turn down any form of apple pie is the day pigs fly. i haven't tried a version with cherries, but it looks and sounds simply marvelous! great blog!

  30. too bad-there's no pic of a slice of it! does not do any justice to the perfect whole pie photo above. this is how i judge a food photograph.

  31. What a grogeous looking and beautifully flavoured pie :D

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Maple Raisin Ice Cream

  32. Great pie, can't wait to try it!

    I've found a never-fail pie crust recipe. No worrying about ice water, hands warming the dough too much, mixing in butter till it resembles peas, or any other nonsense. Just combine dry ingredients, dump in wet ingredients, mix together, roll out. Explained perfectly in this video:


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu