kvetching writing a lot about foraging lately. Or my lack of skills thereof. Also, I’m not so sure about that fine line that separates foraging from harvesting. I know when I head out to my vegetable garden in Umbria and come back with three zucchini (ok, it’s never just three zucchini, but that’s another story) that’s harvesting. But what about when I head out to the back of our property to visit the cherry tree that was here long before we moved in. That I believe sprung up spontaneously at least 50 years ago? When I come back in with three baskets full of cherries, does that count towards my foraging badge?
Because in addition to our mulberry trees (which we planted) our cherry tree is in full form this season. I’m talking about the eat-so-much-your-stomach-hurts kind of cherry abundance.
We’ve been picking away, and I brought about 10 kilos back with us to Rome where I plan on (really, I mean it) making at least four jars of jam. But while in Todi I did manage to make one cherry pie.
I realized that I had never made one before. No excuse. Except pitting all those cherries. Not fun. But I did it, and can I tell you that it was the best cherry pie I’ve ever had? Of course, child hood memories of cherry pie are all gooey, made with canned cherries I’m sure. And cherry pie just isn’t something you get that often in Italy. Last year I got near enough, making both a cherry clafouti and a cherry ricotta tart. But cherry pie had eluded my repertoire up till now.
I used the same crust as for the mulberry pie I made the same day. And added a bit of lemon juice to the already tart cherries.
As I mentioned, the main reason that I never make cherry pie is the pitting. As my sister Robin reminded me when I asked her to bring me a ‘good’ cherry pitter when she comes to visit this summer: “You always ask me to get a good cherry pitter, but then end up complaining that none of them work.” True. So, does anyone out there know of a good cherry pitter? For next year? My friend Edward is bringing me one from a restaurant supply store in NY this week. But since they stopped him at JFK security, thinking it was a weapon, I’m not sure it made it through.
2.5 cups of all purpose flour
250 grams / 8.5 oz butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tsp salt
5 cups of pitted cherries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 200c/400f
Place flour, butter, sugar and salt into food processor. Pulse at high speed until mixture looks like corse meal. With motor running slowly add water – a spoonful at a time – just until dough comes together in a ball. Take out, divide in two (with one slightly bigger) form into disks and cover in saran wrap. Let chill in fridge for about a half hour
Clean cherries. Mix with sugar , cornstarch and lemon juice.
Roll out larger piece of dough and place in greased 9 inch pie tin. Pour berries on top, and dot with butter. Roll out second piece of dough and cover pie, crimping edges and trimming. Poke a few holes in the top of the crust with a sharp knife to let the steam out
Gently brush top with milk, and place on tray in oven.
After 15 minutes, turn oven down to 175c/350f. Bake for another half hour, or until top is nicely golden.