Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Triple Cherry Chocolate Skillet Pie

It was my lucky weekend! For some that might mean winning the lottery or getting the closest parking spot. To me it meant strolling in the farmer's market with good friends. I adore gazing at summer's bounty and tasting samples along the way. I always come home with too much, but that's OK by me. Let's see. Some how I have to squeeze in making plum jam and some refrigerator pickles. And one big heirloom tomato salad. Certainly the farmer's market is no place to save money, but it is fun to buy things that often can't be found elsewhere.

And luck was with me when I found sour cherries.  I thought I'd missed the season. For some folks life is a bowl of cherries but for me-well-I'd rather have pie! I love cherries and always take great pleasure when  baking a cherry pie in the middle of winter.They always taste like summer and remind me of the tree that used to be in our yard. (I think that's why we bought the house!) Yes, I bought an 8 pound frozen container of pitted sour cherries which gives me enough for about 5 pies. My mouth is watering.

So you know I couldn't just refreeze the cherries without baking a pie. Now pie making skills are not my strongest suit but recently the Denver Post published a story about a younger than me girl, that bakes fabulous pies from her trailer named Stella. I saved the article and you know what? She is good. This girl rocks! I feel like pie crust and I finally came eye to eye! Yes, it was a revelation and I finally feel secure baking a pie crust. Hallelujah! And Hurray for the Long I Pie Company! (Tricia if you ever came to Denver, I think we need to start a bakery in an Airstream! Check out her flavors.)

But a good pie crust is only as good as what it is filled with. Yep. That's where these cherries step in. Glory, hallelujah! This pie is so cherrylicious, but it does have my one favorite ingredient in it that makes this pie subtle, smooth and rich. This ingredient gives sweetness that balances the tartness of the cherries without overtaking them. Oh My. Out with it. You know I'm talking about my best babe, chocolate.  I have to admit to having an aversion to those chocolate cherries that come in a box, but oh my, not these that come in a pie. This is one splendid pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So what else did I do out of pure impetuousness? Is that a word? I decided to bake this pie in a skillet just like the Long I Pie Company. I have a great pie dish that I love. But baking the pie in a skillet gave me a thicker pie crust and I love pie crust. I can never decide if I love it more than the filling. Let's call it a toss up. Baking it in a skillet allowed me to have a thicker bottom and top crust. I just love that word crust, don't you? I always think of flaky, but crispy and golden brown, kind of salty, simply but slightly sweet, as being the perfect crust, don't you? Who knew crust could be so complex?

And the cherries. I added some dried sweet cherries. And I added some dried sour cherries. So really this is a Triple Cherry Chocolate Skillet Pie. I've never added dried cherries to a pie. I must say it was a great move on my part. These cherries added texture and bite and such incredible flavor that I think even if I skip the chocolate, I'll always add dried cherries. Now I know my photos weren't the best, but you need to trust me on this. This pie was without a doubt, over the top incredible. Well. As long as you like cherries and chocolate!

Triple Cherry Chocolate Skillet Pie
Serves 8
Time to Make: About 15 minutes for the crust plus 2 hours to chill/30 minutes for filling and rolling/50-60 minutes to bake

The Very Best Pie Crust (from the Long I Pie Company)
2 1/2 c unbleached flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 c frozen butter cut lengthwise down the middle and then sliced into 8 and then each slice in half
3/4 to 1 c ice cold water (I put ice cubes in the water and pour from there)
Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Use a pastry blender, not your food processor because the friction will heat the butter ad cut the chunks too small. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until butter is divided into marble sized pieces. It is these pieces that melt into the crust and create air pockets which make a flaky crust. Do not cut them too small.

After butter is cut in, slowly add water and mix with your hands until dough sticks together  and can be formed into a ball. You may need more or less water. Once shaped into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for two hours before rolling. When you roll out your crust after chilling you then will cut it in half. You should see butter striations in the crust. These are kind of like the gold veins in a gold mine. It means flaky crust, people!

Cherry Chocolate Pie Filling
4 c pitted sour cherries
1 1/2 c dried cherries, sweet and tart combined
1 c sugar
1 T flour
2 1/2 T cornstarch
1 1/4 c finely grated bittersweet or dark chocolate finely grated (I did mine on a microplane)
1-2 T heavy cream

Combine everything but chocolate in a large bowl. Mix and set aside until crust is rolled out. Cut dough in half. I used a 9" cast iron skillet but feel free to use your favorite pie plate. Preheat oven to 400.
I roll out my pie crust between two pieces of plastic wrap. Take one half of the dough and beat it with your rolling pin until it forms a thick circle. Now roll from the center of the circle to the outside, but don't use your full weight when you get to the edges, or the edge of the crust will get too thin. Always roll from the center and in 1/4 sections until the pie crust is the size you need it. Then peel off the top sheet of plastic wrap and turn it upside down over your pie dish. Gently press into place. Do this again for top crust.

Now fill bottom with cherry filling and then pour your chocolate shavings over the top. Smooth it around evenly. Now place the top crust on top and tuck it into the sides of your skillet with the bottom crust on the inside. Pinch lightly. Brush crust with heavy cream and sprinkle with some leftover chocolate shavings.

Bake at 400 for 50-60 minutes. Let cool for as long as you can stand it!

More to Try:
Not My Mama's Cherry Pie
Strawberry Spiral Biscuit Pie
Triple Berry Hand Pies
Salted Honey Rose Tart
Kale Salad with Cherries, Almonds and Feta

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