It’s National Pi Day, so I’m making pie! I used to shy away from pie crusts citing them as just too difficult and time consuming to spend my time on them, when a simple “fruit crisp” with a crumb topping would do just fine. But within the last year, I have been inspired to practice and perfect various fruit pies, using my grandmother’s pie crust recipe. In the summer, I have a lot of rhubarb on hand, and usually combine it with blueberry, raspberry, strawberry or apple. Occasionally, I’ll make a plain rhubarb pie. When our 3 year old Honeycrisp apple tree produced more than a hundred apples this past fall, I knew I had to come up with a plan to also enjoy those sweet treats all year long. I selected an Apple Pie Filling from Allrecipes.com specifically designed for freezing and packaged pie quantities in quart freezer containers. Now I can use them in turnovers, pie, crisp, or as a breakfast topping on pancakes or waffles.
When I decided at about 3:00 to make a pie for dinner and acknowledge 3.14, I could have chosen from the diced rhubarb, peach slices or the apples, all in the freezer. But would I rather have a fruit duo? I came home from the grocery store with strawberries, blueberries and two cans of tart cherries. As I studied the vast collection of fruit in the door of the freezer, a quick decision came to mind – cherries and apples! After all, who doesn’t love cherry pie and/or apple pie? Let’s make it a bit of both.
1 quart frozen apple pie filling, thawed
1 can tart cherries, canned with water, drained
2 tbls. cornstarch
1/8 cup cold water
Combine thawed frozen apple pie filling with one can drained cherries in a saucepan. Bring to a light boil. Mix cornstarch and water in a small plastic or glass container with a lid that can be shaken. Mix thoroughly and then add to the fruit. Bring to another boil, stir while thickening. Within 1-2 minutes, the fruit mixture should be thick and ready to add to your pie shell. Set aside until you are ready to build the pie.
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter (Grandma used shortening, but I put my foot down on that!)
1/4 cup cold water
1 egg, whisked
cinnamon sugar mixture
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender to mix in the cold butter until in small chunks. Using the electric mixer, mix thoroughly until fully combined and the sides of the bowl are clean. Divide in half. Keep one half chilled.
Roll out one half of the pie crust on a floured surface. Lay in the bottom of a greased glass pie pan. Add the filling. Roll out the second crust and trim to 1/2 inch over the edge of the pan. Fold under and seal. Brush the egg on the top crust. Cut 4-6 air slices in the center of the top crust. Sprinkle with 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon sugar mixture. (I used the Sugar & Spice Sprinkle from Olivelle.) Bake at 375º for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm. I really like the fact this pie is not overly sweet, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream would make for a wonderful finish.
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