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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cherry Pinot Noir Pie

Cherry Pinot Noir Pie
When I think back to the desserts that I loved growing up, my dad pops into my head. He was the one who always took me to the candy shop. We would browse the glass cases for turtles, seafoam, and salt water taffy. I'd take my time choosing which of the bright sticks of striped hard candy in flavors like raspberry, watermelon, and lemon that I wanted. I'd study the tall wooden tree that contained branches of homemade lollipops in every color of the rainbow . I'd come home clutching a delicate white bag with handspun treats on the inside. Unfolding the flap and reaching inside was always as exciting as choosing the treats at the shop was.

Dad was also the one who brought all of the sweets into the house. Dad and I were the ones who browsed the bulk cookie bins at the grocery store, filling our bag with almond-studded spiced windmills, glazed almond shells, and rings of sugar cookies. Sometimes we'd get bags of soft molasses cookies or crumbly pecan sandies.

Dad bought the boxes of brownie mix and ran the blender for milkshakes. He filled the freezer with ice cream and popsicles. Yeah, I'm not sure that my mom was ever a big dessert person. She still isn't to this day, but she let him (or rather, couldn't stop him from) bring it into the house.

Cherry Pinot Noir Pie
But my favorite dessert was always pie. Dad didn't make it from scratch, it was always from a box in the freezer. But I didn't care. Although I looked forward to grandma's homemade pecan and pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, those fruit pies that came from the freezer and were pulled bubbling from the oven an hour or so later were the best. The smell that permeated the kitchen while they were baking...the jewel-hued tones of the thick fruit centers...the flaky crust...the scoop of cold ice cream that melted down into the hot slice...pie was definitely my favorite dessert.

I've always fancied myself a pie girl, and these memories are probably the reason. You know, if somebody poses the question "pie or cake" - I've always answered pie without hesitation. Not that I have anything against cake, mind you. Pie from scratch was one of the first things that I learned to bake.

So, in honor of dad and the Father's Day Feast that Sunday Supper and Gallo Family are bringing to the family table this week, I'm bringing pie. My childhood favorite pie, cherry - revamped. When making the filling, I used Gallo Family's Pinot Noir, which has notes of cherries, to add depth to the filling. I also added vanilla bean to it, which adds a touch of richness. And I didn't forget the scoop of ice cream.

Cherry Pinot Noir Pie
Pinot Noir and vanilla bean add richness and depth to cherry filling encased in the flaky crust of this Cherry Pinot Noir Pie.
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Cherry Pinot Noir Pie
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 1 hour unattended
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert cherries vanilla beans wine July 4th pie American summer

Ingredients (1 9-inch pie)
    for the filling:
    • 2 pounds fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries, such as Montmorency
    • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) Pinot Noir
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup Minute Tapioca (quick cooking)
    • 1 vanilla bean
    • big pinch sea salt
    for the pie:
    • 1 recipe Oh-So-Easy Pie Crust (or your favorite double-crust recipe)
    • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
    • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    make the Cherry Pinot Noir pie filling (yield: 36 fluid ounces / 1050 ml) :
    Place all of the ingredients into a large pot, scraping the seeds from the vanilla bean and adding both the seeds and the pod. Bring to a boil, reduce and let simmer until the mixture has thickened, 5 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit. Remove vanilla bean pod.
    Cherry Pinot Noir Pie Filling
    At this point, you could cool the filling down completely, then store in the refrigerator in a jar with a lid for 2-3 days before using.

    putting the pie together:
    Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet large enough to hold your pie plate comfortably with foil.

    Using a rolling pin, roll out your bottom crust (see tutorial, if you need it) and fit it into your pie tin, leaving a bit of an overhang. Pile your Cherry Pinot Noir pie filling inside (see notes). Dot it with the butter.

    Roll out your top crust and drape it over the filling; cut a vent or two for steam to escape (or do a lattice or decorative cut-out top crust). Brush the crust with the cream (you may not use it all, just give it a nice thin coat), then scatter the sugar all over it.
    Assembling the Cherry Pinot Noir Pie
    Set the pie on the prepared baking tray (this is to catch any drips) and slide into preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Be sure to check on the pie about halfway through, covering the edges with a pie crust shield, or the whole thing with foil, if it seems to be getting too dark too quickly.

    Remove from oven and allow to cool before cutting.

    I like mine served warm with vanilla ice cream (a la mode). It does cut better when cool, so it's easier to reheat a slice in the microwave for a few seconds than to try cutting it while it's still hot.

    In these photos, you'll notice that the edges of my pie crust "fell and sagged". This is because I substituted coconut oil for the shortening in my tried-and-true pie crust recipe (since I didn't want to go to the market). That did bum me out a bit, but it was still tasty.

    The amount of filling that this makes is actually enough to fill one deep dish pie. If you're using a regular shallow pie plate, you'll probably have a scant cup of filling left. But never fear, the filling can be used in other recipes, as well. Serve it warm over vanilla ice cream (bake the pie dough scraps, brushed with cream and sprikled with cinnamon and sugar, and then add them to the whole thing). You could also use the filling for making coffee cake or danish.

    Tapioca is my favorite thickener for pies, but if you don't have any, you could substitute 1/4 cup cornstarch in its place. Be sure to stir the corn starch together with the sugar before adding it to the pot with the rest of the ingredients. This will thicken fast, so you'll only have to simmer it for 2-3 minutes.

    You could replace the vanilla bean with 1-1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract if you don't have one (but I recommend using the vanilla bean).

    If you are using frozen cherries, be sure that the weight is for cherries only and not juice (if they've thawed); you can save the juice for another purpose.
    Cherry Pinot Noir Pie

    Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.