Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cherry Pie

Yesterday was George Washington's birthday, so despite the unlikelihood of the cherry tree chopping story, I made a CHERRY PIE. We like pie in our family, so we don't need much of an excuse to make one. This recipe could be used to make any number of fruit and berry pies, and the crust is good for any pie.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the FILLING I used 3 cans of organic cherries last night, but 2 cans would have been enough for one pie. I will tell you what I did with the leftover cherries, later.

If you only want to have two things to wash (plus a fork and a spoon), you could first make the crust dough in a saucepan, and then after you've rolled it out, you could use it for the cherries to heat up. I will tell you about the cherries first, though, as you could be making the crust while they are thickening.

Dump the two cans of cherries into the pan, and taste the juice. If it isn't sweet enough, you can add some sweetener, and if it isn't tart enough you can add some lemon juice. These cherries were just right, however, so I just stirred a quarter cup of arrowroot powder (you could also use cornstarch) into them to thicken them, and heated them up, stirring every so often until it actually started to thicken, at which point I stirred them constantly for about a minute. Turn off the heat.

For the CRUST I scooped out a little more than a cup of unbleached white flour (with the germ added back in—you can buy it that way), and then a little more than a cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Pastry flour is made with soft wheat and has less gluten than regular whole wheat flour, making for a more tender dessert. I use a little more than 2 cups of flour in all, because it makes enough dough to make a decent sized crust. You could use all white flour or all whole wheat pastry, if that's all you have.

To the flour add about half a teaspoon of salt and stir it in.

Pour a little more than half a cup of sunflower oil (which I use because I like its flavor) into the flour and stir it in with the fork until it resembles pea-sized granules.

Get about a quarter cup of cold water and stir it into what should be becoming a soft dough ball. Do this somewhat gradually, and only add enough to make the dough ball stick nicely together. If it is too dry, it would be too hard to roll out. If it is too damp, it will be too sticky. If you mess up, either add a few drops more water, or a sprinkle on more flour. Divide the ball into two lumps, one slightly bigger than the other.

Roll the slightly bigger lump out between two sheets of waxed paper, using a rolling pin or a wine bottle (for instance) to flatten it. The wax paper makes it almost fool proof, unless you have made the dough too damp. After flattening the lump, roll away from yourself, then from side to side. At that point, roll in a circular fashion, which helps to keep the crust round. From the middle, roll out and up, turn the crust and do again and again until the crust about reaches the edges of the squares of waxed paper. Don't make it so thin it won't hold together when you are placing it in a pie plate. Again, if you mess up, no harm done—you could always just pat the dough into the plate, making it as uniform and thin as possible. Otherwise, peel off one sheet of waxed paper, invert the crust over a flat style pie plate (not a deep dish one), and remove the other waxed paper sheet after you have maneuvered it into place in a centered sort of way.

Dump the thickened cherries into the bottom crust.

Roll out the smaller dough ball the same way, and place it over the cherries. If you are lucky, there will be a little extra sticking out along the edge of both the crusts. If it isn't even, take a little from here to build it up over there, and then you can pinch it together all around the edges, fluting it in your own decorative way.

Prick some holes or a slash or two in the top of the pie.

I suggest baking it over either a cookie sheet or some foil, as this pie tends to overflow, and prevention is better than cure when it comes to cleaning ovens. As to it interfering with the heat flow: it didn't seem to bother my pie last night, but you'll know your own oven best.

Bake at 425 for 35 minutes and remove from the oven to cool. It should be just slightly browned at this point. If your oven is different, then check on the pie and take it out when it's ready, before it starts to smell burnt. Fruit pies can also be baked at 375 for 45 minutes, but I am usually in a hurry.

After it has cooled slightly you can cut it into pieces. I would have thought this pie would be enough for six people, but by the time I was served my slice it was quite thin and had to be augmented with some Soyatoo whipped cream. It was very tasty, but I could have used a little more, so don't wait too long for your slice, or be in charge of the cutting of the pie yourself (moral of the story).


  1. my raspberry pie didnt turn out very good, the crust wasnt flaky and the filling was pretty sour...ugh i bet your pie was way better

  2. Can't say that it wasn't. Did you use half whole wheat pastry and half unbleached white flour? Did you add the oil first? Did you not overwork the dough when you added the water? Is your oven hot enough?
    Add more sweetening to the filling next time!
    I don't think anyone would mind if you try and try to make better pie. Eating the mistakes is never too awful.