Pie #1: What if the sour cherries aren't sour?

Pie #1: Sour Cherry Pie

Last week on my travels to Northern California I picked up a cookbook at the Culinary Institute of America entitled Pies and Tarts by Kristina Peterson Migoya. I then committed myself to baking 21 pies over the summer in honor of my father and to support Alzheimer's research. I am going to try as many recipes from this book as I can. Pie baking has always been one of my passions, but I usually stick to the basics: apple, berry, and an occasional simple banana creme or chocolate. This task I am undertaking requires patience, which is a skill I often lack. Now my husband and I cannot and will not eat all 21 pies; therefore, after the first few shaky attempts I plan on delivering the pies to those I love. You never know when a warm pie will appear on your doorstep!

Pie #1 was a sour cherry pie. It was a struggle and a mess AND it took most of the day to complete. I first decided I wanted to try a pie crust by hand using a pastry cutter instead of a food processor. I acquired my crust recipe a few years ago after watching Martha Stuart on Good Morning America. She recommended using the food processor which makes the crust fairly easy to put together. Now....using a pastry cutter and my hands is a totally different experience. After struggling to incorporate the butter into the flour with the cutter, I then used my hands but I know I didn't do a very good job. There were huge chunks of butter scattered through the dough. As I stated before, patience has never been one of my virtues. 

I bought three bags of cherries at the store, but when I got them home I realized they weren't sour cherries, which usually come from Michigan. Oh well. Sweet...sour....what's the difference? I pulled out the pitter and worked my way through the bags. After I was done my kitchen looked like Dexter had mutilated a body in in it. The cherries then had to simmer for 45 minutes AND then cool until room temperature. Wow! While the mixture was cooling I pulled out the dough and struggled to to roll out the crust. This wasn't easy. It was dry and a pain in the butt, but I was determined to get this pie in the oven before sunrise.

When the pie came out of the oven it looked gorgeous! I posted pics on Facebook and bragged about my pie making skills to all. That evening after dinner we sat down in front of the television with a piece of pie each and a scoop of ice cream to top it off. I took a few bites and then my hubby took a few bites. Silence. I then asked, "What do you think?" He just grunted. "What do you think?" I asked again. He then hesitantly replied, "Well, it's kind of chewy. I like your other crust better." I had to agree. It was bland and tough. Phooey. My first pie of the summer was a frustrating failure. It wasn't a total loss, though. The cherry mixture was lovely, even without the sour cherries. It was the crust that was a fiasco. Sigh.....

I am not discouraged with this faulty initial undertaking. Baking pies can teach you many life lessons. Mistakes are made. Situations can be tough. Sometimes things that are supposed to be sour end up tasting sweet. Often our original ideas are the best. Slow down. Try again. Don't be discouraged. Not all beautiful things give us joy. Sometimes they are bland and boring. Failures are part of life. 

So....stay tuned for more pie.....fruit, crust, filling, and all. 
"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie." - David Mamet, Boston Marriage