Thursday, March 3, 2011

They call me the pie master

I watched Twin Peaks for the first time in its entirety last year with my flatmate, who cooks. It started with brie and butter baguettes. Then came the donuts. Soon enough we were stuffing our faces every other night and dreaming about the perfect cherry pie. Apple, bilberry, pumpkin too, but especially cherry. I'm a sucker for that poisonous essence found in canned cherries, Dr. Pepper and arsenic.

The reason it took me about eight months to actually get around making said pie was that it's impossible to find fresh or even frozen sour cherries in Finland and even canned tend to be hard to find and expensive. Miraculously at least Citymarket now carries huge jars of both sweet and sour cherries, and this pie is made with the latter.

Damn good pie, this is. Glossy, too!

I have to say, I am extremely pleased with this pie. I don't know what the secret is because it was all very simple, but let me take you through the process so that I, or you, can maybe replicate it later and pinpoint the source of fabulousness.

The crust

5 dl flour
225 g cold butter

All crumbled together. The secret to a nice flaky crust is to handle the dough as little as possible to keep the butter from melting. The consistence should be teensy crumbs of butter encased in flour. I am now dreaming about a good pastry cutter, but a kitchen blender should do the job as well and I just pinched little cubes of butter in the flour with my fingertips until it was suitably crumbly.

Now, for a regular shortcut pastry you usually just mix a small amount of water in with the butter-flour mixture. Apparently you can replace some of the water with vodka, which will then evaporate from the pie and result in a deliciously flaky crust. The recipe I used contained a small amount of vinegar, which I suspect works in a similar manner. I added

0,4 dl water
0,1 dl vinegar
0,75 egg (I mixed the yolk with the white and left a little in the cup for later)

I then smoothed the pastry into a lump, divided it into two (I even used a scale to do it!), wrapped the halves in cling wrap and put them in the fridge.

The filling

1 jar (350 g) of sour cherries + about half the liquid
3 dl brown sugar
a healthy dose of cinnamon
1 dl flour

All mixed together. Now, this is the point where I took a two-hour nap, so I let the filling stew and the pastry cool in peace. It's imperative to keep the pastry cold, but who cares when you combine the filling ingredients, not me.

After I woke up I took one half of the pastry out of the fridge, sandwiched it between cling film and proceeded to roll it into a thin, pie dish sized shape, readjusting the cling films every now and then to avoid wrinkles and stickiness. I let the bottom cool off in the fridge while I rolled out the other half and cut it into the lattice strips. Then I brushed the bottom with the remaining egg, added the filling, made a pretty lattice top, brushed it withe remaining egg remains and baked the whole beauty in 220°C for 35 minutes. Let it cool for a bit and served with ice cream. OMG perfect! For the record, there was no cherry essence taste: apparently adding a little almond extract makes it even more delicious. I couldn't use it because of an allergy, but do try it if you will! And the vodka crust, too. Just don't eat it raw too much.

Om to the fucking nom nom!

In other news I've been more inclined to start projects than finish them. There's a pair of wool pants on the needles that will probably only premier next winter because it's most definitely spring now, commission hats are waiting to be cast on, a sock pattern awaits proper inspiration, I think I promised to make two pairs of socks for different people... but most excited I've been about Geodesic cardigan (links to Rav, here's the link to Interweave store).
I'm at the first tucks, how exciting!
I was originally going to splurge on some Malabrigo lace for it, but in some fit of common sense decided on this mystery laceweight wool I found from a thrift store. A bit disappointingly the first of two skeins had numerous cuts here and there, but no trace of any animals and all my yarn is nowadays safely tucked away in ziplock bags so I decided not to worry about it. I ended up with two bigger balls and several tiny ones. But hey, 150 g of laceweight for 2 euros, what am I complaining about? It's a very pretty purple, too.

I've also been on a cross stitch highway. I decided way before Yule while making the kitty-vomit-thing that I needed motivational sign myself. Something like a motto I could live by, that would inform anyone visiting my home of the values I live by. Something pretty, sophisticated and subtle. Something like...

The antique frame compliments these delicate stitches perfectly.

The font is from and two of the birds from The frames and the bird on the bottom left I designed myself. As before, the picture below should be big enough to work from. Because I know what's been missing from your home decor.

You're welcome.

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