Summer Time Orchestras
It’s June here in Texas and it’s already unbelievably hot. So much so that you can’t even go outside from the hours of 2-5pm. It’s gross. The air is thick, the mosquitos are the worst they’ve ever been, and the sky has this strange haze about it that makes the sun blurry and very red. It’s not my favorite time of year down here… my garden has turned yellow with grasshopper stains. And much of what I planted has now died. But tonight I stepped out on our front porch right before the sun went down to it’s complete… I sat in silence listening to the Orchestra of the cicadas, the flashing of the fireflies and the site of a spider’s shadow spinning the most beautiful web. Our trees and flowers are in full bloom… and I was covered with a calm. I think about my life as a child… when air conditioning wasn’t a thing. My sister and I would dip into my parent’s pool right before bed to cool us off and take a cold shower and jump into bed with the fans in our windows… I would fall asleep to the midwest cicadas without a blanket covering me up and have the best sleep of my life. I love those memories. Waterbed and all…
One of the things I do love about Texas Summers is that their fruit and vegetables pop out early!!! And man does that make a fun pie time for me. It gives me such a peace of heart to slave over the oven and roll out your own pie crust. It’s this beautiful act of labor that fills me up. Today I’m going to share with you a fantastic Cherry Pie recipe!!! Hello Summer!!
· Homemade Pie Crust - See MY Tasty Recipe Below
· 4 and 1/2 cups halved pitted fresh cherries
· 2/3 cup granulated sugar
· 1/4 cup cornstarch
· 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
· 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
· 1 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
· egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon milk
· optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on crust
1. The crust
2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, stir the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Set filling aside in the refrigerator as the oven preheats. This gives the filling a chance to rest.
3. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
4. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Spoon the filling into the crust and discard any leftover juices in the bottom of the bowl. Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling.
5. Arrange the lattice: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle that is 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut strips of dough– I cut four strips 2 inches wide and two strips 1 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. (See video above!) Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use a small paring knife to trim off excess dough. Flute or crimp the edges with a fork, if desired.
6. Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar, if using.
7. Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly.
DOUBLE PIE CRUST
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Tsp of Salt
6 TBSP of Cold Salted Butter
2/3 Cup Crisco
3 TBSP of Ice Cold Water
3 TBSP of Ice Cold Vodka
Combine your Flour and Salt. And because I love using my hands when I make pie, throw your butter and Crisco into your flour and salt and start mixing. Until you have coarse “meal”. Add your water and vodka until you can form two balls. (Some folks put this in the fridge so it hardens up a bit but I find it harder to roll out) I throw the flour down on the counter and roll my one ball of dough into a 12” round. It takes practice!!! And believe me I never have a perfect pie. There is no such thing. XO
My children have become quite the fearless little ones. We’re learning quite a bit during these hot summer days about the habitat around us. Touching worms, catching frogs with their hands and keeping them in a bucket to squeeze later, petting roly poly’s, cutting snakes heads off and keeping them in a jar to look at later (Yes, this just happened). We’re learning about scorpions and fire ants and rhinoceros beetles and hummingbirds. Rocks, Trees, Vegetable Gardens, Watermelon plants and pink roses. We smell, we taste, we feel and we remember all the things that surround us are just enough. Life can take us away from the special delights in our lives when it’s just enough to be present with the little things. The things that keep teaching us how to be brave, strong, patient, and to love. I want to pair a song with this delightful cherry pie and these wild living things in my back yard that will take you back to those hot summer days in the 90’s. Dirty Dancing’s Time of Your Life. I caught myself smiling at the memory of this movie while I sang the song and did the dance moves. It keeps you feeling all the things that you want to feel. Especially during a hot Texas day.
Thank you Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray for always reminding me to dance. And thank you my beautiful babies for always reminding me of what’s really important. May you all indulge in a little heat from the sun and a little heat from your stoves this summer. Cheers.