My Recipe Box

Apple Pie with Poached Dried Cherries

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Serves eight.

Yields one 9-inch pie.

I always use dried tart cherries rather than sweet ones. Tart cherries are made from sour cherries, which are “true” pie cherries, and they definitely give the pie a more complex flavor.

For the pie dough.
  • 10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) cold vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. ice-cold water
For the poached cherries:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (about 6 oz.) dried tart cherries
For the apple-cherry filling
  • 2-1/2 to 3 lb. (about 7) firm, tart apples (like Cortland, Jonagold, or Sierra Gold), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/3-inch slices (about 7 cups)
  • 7 to 8 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
To finish:
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk
Make the pie dough:

Whisk the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl. In the stand mixer (use the paddle attachment and gradually increase from low to medium speed) or in the bowl by hand with a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the butter starts breaking into smaller pieces. Cut in the shortening until the biggest pieces of both fats are the size of peas. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the water and mix until the dough just holds together. There should be some visible bits of butter. Cut the dough in half (each piece should be about 9-1/2 oz.), pat each half into a flat disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Poach the cherries:

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, add the dried cherries, and simmer for 3 min. Drain the cherries and let cool before using. (Save the poaching liquid to drizzle on ice cream.)

Assemble the pie:

Take both disks of dough from the refrigerator and let them warm up until pliable, about 15 min. Unwrap the dough and set it on a lightly floured work surface. With as few passes of the rolling pin as possible, roll each disk into an 11- to 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. After every few passes of the rolling pin, run a bench scraper under the dough to be sure it isn’t sticking (to prevent tearing), scatter a little more flour under it, and continue rolling. Drape one round into a 9-inch pie pan, gently fitting it to the contours of the pan. Let the dough rest for 1 to 2 min. (this will help keep the crust from shrinking during baking) and then trim the edge, leaving about 1/2 inch hanging over the rim of the pan.

Toss the apples with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and poached cherries. Pour the fruit into the pie shell and press down with your palms to arrange it evenly. (This will keep the apples from poking holes in the top crust.)

Drape the top crust over the pie. Trim the edge of the top crust to the same size as the bottom. Fold both the trimmed edges together and under so they rest on the rim of the pie pan and form a tall edge. Crimp the edge decoratively but be sure the bottom and top crusts are sealed at the edges. Vent the top by poking the tip of a paring knife through it in a few places. (It’s important to vent well or the fruit can explode through the pastry during baking.) You can make attractive designs by tracing a pattern on top and then poking lots of little holes with the tip of a knife.

Position an oven rack on the bottom rung. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with foil and set it on the rack. Heat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the milk or cream. Brush the top of the pie with the egg glaze (you won’t need to use all of it). Repierce the steam vents if they get clogged with the glaze. Bake on the heated baking sheet until the pastry is a deep golden and the juices are bubbling, about 1-1/2 hours. If the edges start to get too dark, loosely drape foil around the sides or cover the edges with a pie guard. Let cool on a rack to room temperature and then serve.

Make Ahead Tips

This recipe was developed to make in advance and freeze for up to six weeks before baking. After assembling the pie, immediately wrap tightly in plastic, making sure there are no gaps to allow air or moisture inside. If freezing for longer than a week, add an outer layer of foil as well. Store in the coldest part of the freezer (generally the top). When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and brush frozen pie with the egg glaze. Place frozen pie on the heated baking sheet in the 350°F oven (do not thaw the pie first). Baking time will be about 15 minutes longer than baking a freshly-made pie.

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is an outstanding pie. The crust was rich and flaky and the dried cherries gave it depth of flavour and a delicious tangyness. This is now my new apple pie.

So very yummy! I used granny smith apples to make this, and the combination of dried sour cherries and apples was just completely addictive. The buttery crust was a perfect encasement for such a luscious combination. I recommend keeping an eye on your pie if you are not planning on freezing it. I made mine and baked it right away, and having it in a pyrex pie plate made it easy to monitor crust colour. I served this pie at room temperature and the flavours were wonderfully melded together and the pie slices held together beautifully. For my own preferences, I topped the pie filling with about 1 1/2 tbs. of butter, broken up, before applying the top crust. I would recommend this pie to anyone who wants to change things up a bit. Thank you for such a great recipe!

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