December 19, 2013

Sour Cherry Crumble Pie

I had not made anything cherry in my whole life until I lost a college football bet with our friend Clay Henry a few years ago. Lesson learned - don't think you know more than a second-generation Arkansas Razorbacks sports personality, editor and publisher. My wager was to make him anything he wanted if I lost. And Clay's favorite - cherry. So I have since learned to make cherry desserts, not only to fill my duties as a bet-loser but also to treat him and his sweet wife on occasion. Recently Clay had a knee surgery, and I made him this Sour Cherry Crumble Pie. All the dessert in the world wouldn't be enough to tell him how special he is to my family, especially to my husband and boys. He's a good fella, even if he did beat me in a bet.

Traditionally, cherry pies have lattice crust on top. But for the sake of time and flavor, I piled on the Brown Sugar Crumble Topping that I posted previously this week. Sour cherries are so tart that I liked the extra sugary, buttery flavor to balance out the pucker! And it is important that you use sour/tart cherries not dark red cherries (both in the freezer section) because dark red cherries are too sweet and flavorless. If you live in my region of the country - AR, MO, OK - then you can find sour/tart cherries at Harps Food Stores. And the color of these cherries are bright red and so pretty which makes this dessert perfect for the Christmas holiday...and for any time you lose a bet.   

{makes one 9-inch pie}
Note: It is important to follow the recipe in order of how it is printed for it to turn out right.

One pie dough disc, EM's Favorite Pie Crust or storebought
Brown Sugar Crumble Topping {1/2 of the recipe makes one pie}

4.5 to 5 cups frozen sour/tart red cherries
3/4 cup sugar
A heaping 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp almond extract
Zest of one lemon
1 Tbls fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
 1 Tbls unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
 1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out and press one pie dough disc into a regular 9" pie plate. Crimp the edges and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or while you're making the filling and topping.

In a large bowl, make the Brown Sugar Crumble Topping. Set aside.

For the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest until combined. In another large bowl, stir frozen cherries, lemon juice and almond extract together. Combine the cherries with the sugar/flour mixture and stir well. 

Working quickly to make sure everything stays cold, brush the bottom of the frozen pie crust with egg white. Then spoon the cherry filling into the prepared crust, leaving any unwanted cherry liquid in the bottom of cherry bowl. You do not want any extra liquid poured into the pie or it'll be soggy.  Dot the top with the butter pieces. Then pack on the crumble topping, pressing it onto the pie and filling all the space from crust to crust. Cover the whole top! 

Place the pie plate on a large baking sheet to catch the bubble-overs, and bake on the center oven rack for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and the pie liquid is thickened and bubbling. If the topping is dark enough and the liquid still hasn't thickened, you may lay a sheet of foil over the top of the pie to keep the topping from cooking any darker while allowing the cherry filling to keep thickening.

Allow to cool at least 20 minutes. 
And if you're smart, you'll serve it with vanilla ice cream.