One of my favorite things about summer is the fresh fruit. I love cherries, blueberries, peaches, strawberries, plums, raspberries and all the other fresh produce available. While I primarily eat the fruit on its own, I can't help but bake it into pies, crumbles and tarts on occasion. The occasion for the pie I made recently was Father's Day. My Dad loves cherry pie and being the good daughter that I am, I laboriously pitted all the cherries to bake him a Father's Day pie.
On pitting cherries... It's kind of a pain to pit cherries. Ok, it's really a pain to pit cherries. Before I started, I did a little online research to see how other people pit their cherries (without cherry pitters). Some people recommend using toothpicks. I tried this, but the toothpicks weren't strong enough to pluck the pit out. Others recommended a paring knife, but the knife seemed a little large and clumsy to me. Some people wonder why the cherries need to be whole--can't you just cut the cherry in half to remove the pit? After experimenting with a few options, inspiration struck. I found the perfect cherry pitting tool--a grapefruit knife.
Most grapefruit knives have two sides, like the one pictured above. The upper end in the picture above is the end that I used to pit cherries. It's smaller than a paring knife and fits better into the cherry and because the blade is curved, it works perfectly for plucking the cherry out. If you're a grapefruit lover like me, this knife is far more useful than a cherry pitter.
While we're still on cherry pitting, watch out for cherry juice. I had it all over my hands and couldn't get it all off for a day or two...
On pie crust...
I posted my favorite pie crust around Thanksgiving. I swear by this recipe. The crust is so flaky and delicious and easy to roll out. If you're curious about how to make a lattice crust, check out the instructions on Simply Recipes for pictures and step-by-step instructions.
Cherry pie filling
1 cup sugar (cut this down to 3/4 if you're not using sour cherries)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups pitted cherries (sour or dark sweet)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if you're using sour cherries) or 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (if you're using sweet cherries)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Stir in cherries, lemon juice and and vanilla. Bake at 425 degrees for the first 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 and cook for about 30 minutes or until the pie filling is bubbling and the crust is lightly browned.