I would like to take you readers on a trip back into Shaw Girl’s past, specifically to the year 1990. I was a sophomore in high school, still rocking very high hair and questionable fashion choices. I had a major crush on one Jason Perry, but my mother wouldn’t let me go out on a date with him (he drove a van and in her eyes that meant he had designs on deflowering her baby). I hung out with a group of boys who fancied themselves a band, but they mostly just hung out in my best friend Daryl’s shed. I was heavily into Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles books (remember children, vampires DON’T sparkle), which caused some of my teachers to worry I may be into the occult. I wasn’t…I just imagined Lestat was a smokin’ hottie (NOT Tom Cruise).
Mostly, however, I immersed myself in music. And by music, I mean the world of hair metal. Oh yes my dear readers, I was a disciple of the school of hair bands. Motley Crue, Bang Tango, Scorpions, Ratt, Cinderella, Faster Pussycat, L.A. Guns, Gene Loves Jezebel…all of their tapes (yes TAPES) had a place in my duffle bag of music. I stayed up late to watch Headbanger’s Ball on MTV so I could get a glimpse of my favorite bands. I poured over magazines like Circus, Metal Edge and Spin…mostly for items to add to my Guns n’ Roses scrapbook (yeah, you read that right…don’t judge me if I still have it). And I one day dreamed that I too would take Tawny Kitaen’s place on a car hood in a music video. I know that’s wrong, but at the time, I didn’t care. Tawny was my hero…that is until I saw this video:
Yes, the song objectifies women and is brazenly sexual. Yes, Jani Lane (the lead singer of Warrant for the uninformed) is now a struggling alcoholic. And yes, I have no idea why American Gothic makes an “appearance” in this video. But back in 1990, none of that mattered. All I cared about was the catchy beat and the fact that the line, “So I mixed up the batter and she licked the beater” somehow seemed naughty. And back then, all I needed were dirty words and a scorching guitar riff to get me dancing.
All of this was going through my head as I was pitting cherries for a homemade cherry pie. I’ve always wanted to make a cherry pie from scratch but never cottoned to the idea of pitting four cups of cherries. I also didn’t like the idea of buying a cherry pitter, as it’s a unitasker. But after reading all of the other ways to remove the pit from a cherry, I decided to borrow a pitter from Brian. And man, am I in love!
The pitter shoots the pit right through the cherry with minimal damage to the cherry itself. Before I knew it, we had pitted all the cherries and I was ready to move on to making my pie. Which may or may not have included a few Cherry Pie dancing interludes.
Recipe: Cherry Pie
- For the Filling:
- 4 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (more if using pie cherries)
- 2 1/2 tbsps quick cooking tapioca
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsps cold unsalted butter, diced
- For the crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsps salt
- 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup lard, frozen and cubed
- 1/2 cup ice water
- For the egg wash:
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water
- First, make the pie crust. Add the flour and the salt to a food processor and pulse four times. Add in half of the cubed butter and pulse four more times. Add the remaining butter and pulse again four times. Add the lard and pulse again until the mixture is crumbly in texture.
- With the food processor on, add the water to the mixture slowly. Add enough water until a dough ball forms in the processor bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and separate it into two discs (one slightly smaller than the other). Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the discs are chilling, make the cherry filling. Add the sugar, lemon, vanilla, salt and tapioca to the cherries. Using a spatula, stir it all together to coat the cherries. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When the dough has sufficiently chilled, flour your work surface and roll out the larger disc. Drape the dough over your pie pan and crimp off any excess dough from the sides.
- Roll out the second disc of dough. To make the lattice top, cut strips of the dough using either a pizza cutter or a pastry cutter. The width of the strips is a personal preference. Pour the cherry filling into the crust. Dot the filling with the diced, cold butter. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the sides of the dough with some of the egg wash. Then lay about four lattice strips over the cherry filling. Lay four other strips perpendicular to the original four lattice strips. You can weave the strips over and under each other (see this post for a better explanation)…or you can be lazy like me and not bother. Brush the lattice top with the remaining egg wash. Bake the pie for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the crust is golden and the filling has thickened. Allow to cool before serving.
Number of servings (yield): 6
Meal type: dessert