Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Balsamic Cherry Pie with a Black Pepper Crust, Plus a Melina's Giveaway!



Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we were greeted by an abundance of fresh cherries as soon as the summer appeared. After months of non-stop rain and clouds (no exaggeration here, people), the first glimpse of cloudless sunlight meant that the sweet taste of fresh cherries was not very far off. Cherry trees grow absurdly well in Oregon, so much so that they can sometimes become a nuisance in the summer, when they become so loaded down with fruit that most people have a hard time keeping up with the intake of cherries their trees are producing and end up with rotting cherries strewn about their yard. This is exacerbated by squirrels (lovingly referred to by many as tree rats) eating half of them and tossing them wherever they happen to be perched. Many an Oregonian's carpet has been stained by the cherried footprints of their children and family members, who were unaware of the cherry carcasses lurking in their front lawn.


We did not have a cherry tree, unfortunately, but one of the customers at my parents' deli did, and every year they would bring us two huge cardboard boxes filled to the brim with ripe black cherries. My mother wasn't into preserving or jam-making, so we used it as an opportunity to eat an obscene amount of cherries within a one-week period. Our fingers were permanently stained magenta during that time, and I used to rub the cherry halves on my lips for some color as a work-around mom's no-make-up rule. Those were the days!


So when I saw cherries appearing at the supermarket this past week, I knew I wanted to make a fresh cherry pie to enjoy them in. But after having sampled Kosta's kalamata balsamic vinegar a couple months back, I'd been waiting for the opportunity to incorporate them into some kind of fruited pastry dish, and cherries seemed like a perfect fit. The kalamata balsamic is a red wine vinegar made by Melina's Gourmet Foods, which is owned and operated by Kosta, a Greek immigrant with a passion for fine and traditionally prepared olive oils and vinegars. Their kalamata vinegar is made from sun dried grapes that are aged in oak barrels for over 10 years, and it is honestly the best vinegar I have ever had. (I can and have eaten it by itself on a piece of bread.) To complement the sweet cherries and tangy vinegar, I incorporated some black pepper into the crust of the pie for a spicy kick ( a flavor combination I fell in love with last summer in this jam). The result was a pie full to the brim with flavor, sweet, tangy, fresh, buttery, spicy, it has it all. It was delicious on its own, but the other day I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it and that kind of blew my mind. The creamy vanilla and tart balsamic-y cherries made the best of pairs.


And luckily for us, Kosta has generously offered a giveaway of a variety oak of their olive oils and vinegars so you can try it, too! The giveaway includes: A four-pack of Melina's Green Gold Olive Oil, Oreganato Olive Oil, Kalamata Balsamic, and their Italian Balsamic in a beautiful wooden gift box.
To enter the giveaway, use the rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway ends July 31st at 11:59 pm PST and is only open to residents of the United States. Best of luck to all of you!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: This recipe is to be made in the springform pie pan described in the ingredients/tools list. If you make it using a regular pie pan, I would recommend cutting the entire recipe in half and only simmering the filling for 15 minutes.



Filling

3 and 1/2 lbs Cherries, pitted
1 and 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Crust

4 cups flour
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
4-6 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Glaze

1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon water

Tools

pastry brush
springform cake pan, 8 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches tall


First, prepare the filling. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat, stirring every few minutes. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Take care not to crush the cherries when you stir, as you want them to remain whole in the pie. At the end of the 30 minutes, the cherry filling should have thickened significantly. Remove from heat and set aside.


To prepare the crust, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. You have two options when adding the butter. 1) You could cut the butter into pea-sized pieces over the bowl. But this method usually means holding the butter in your hand which will warm it up, thus making less cold-induced flakiness. Or 2) You could cut the stick into general 2-inch cubes on a cutting board, add the butter cubes to the bowl and toss them to coat in the dry ingredients (this helps protect them from the warm air) and use this dough scraper to chop the butter cubes into smaller bits that are roughly pea-sized. This method is better because it keeps the butter colder longer. Begin adding the tablespoons of ice water while stirring gently. Grab a handful of the mixture and squeeze. If it generally sticks together when you let go, it is fine. If it completely crumbles apart, it needs a bit more water.

Separate the dough into two pieces, one that is 2/3rds of the total dough and one that is 1/3 of the total dough. The bigger ball of dough will be the bottom crust and the smaller ball of dough will be the lattice top. Roll out the big ball of dough onto a well-floured surface, keeping it in a nice circular shape. Once it is about 1 cm thick, transfer it a lightly greased and floured springform pan that is 8 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches tall and mold into it into the sides of the pan, letting the extra crust hang off the sides. Trim excess crust, and roll out the smaller ball. Cut it into 1-inch strips for the lattice pattern, but leave the lattice pieces on a large plate lined with parchment paper. Place the plate and the crust shell, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. For the glaze, whisk the egg and water in a small bowl until combined. Remove the pie shell and lattice from the refrigerator. Brush the tops of the lattice strips with the egg mixture. Pour the filling into the pie shell and then arrange the lattice strips on top. Use your thumbs to press the edges of the crust and lattice strips together and cut off any excess crust. After the edges of the crusts are secured, lift them up a bit so that they don't hang down over the edge too much, otherwise when the pie is done and you unhinge the cake pan, the crusts will break off when the sides of the pan expand. Brush the edges of the crust with the egg mixture as well.

Place the pie in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 to 1 hour and 30 minutes, on the second lowest oven rack, lightly brushing the surface with more egg again at the 45 minute mark. If you notice the edges of the crust browning too quickly, cover them with tin foil.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving.




86 comments:

  1. This pie is gorgeous! I love that it's deep dish style! We are just getting cherries now here in Montreal, and we are loving them in my house! Sooooo delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I use oil and vinegar to make the most incredible dressings! Gosh, this pie, I can't even put into words how amazing it looks. I just love cherry season!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I use olive oil and vinegar for simple caprese salads. By the way, this pie is so beautiful! I'm afraid to attempt it and have everyone see what terrible results I come up with, when they compare it to your stunner. I'm definitely pinning it for later though. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This pie looks amazing! My husband loves balsamic vinegar in/on everything.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I douse all my vegetables in olive oil and vinegar, but nothing beats a beautiful ripe tomato with a sprinkling of sea salt and crusty bread to absorb the dressing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a beautiful pie! I love to dip my bread in olive oil....

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been interested in trying some different olive oils in my cooking.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love to drizzle olive oil on freshly sliced summer tomatoes!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love balsamic vinegar on ripe tomatoes in the summer!

    ReplyDelete
  10. your pie is stunning!!! I literally could eat balsamic reduction by the spoonful - love it on everything! And I pickle things with vinegar all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've never been a cherry pie fan, but you're makin' me a believer with those photos.
    As for oil and vinegar.....BREAD.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Olive oil over a perfectly ripe avocado, and some cayenne pepper...yum :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. your photos are just thrilling to my tastebuds and eyes...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Gosh that is seriously one gorgeous pie!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pie looks absolutely stunning and I so envy those people having cherry trees in their backyards!! Bliss.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks super yummy. I love cherries and this will be a perfect recipe to make.

    ReplyDelete
  17. wow! photos are great! preeminently first-I really like the background!

    Julia

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love using olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing- it's a staple at my house. -Kern

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm so impressed by this beautiful pie! I love combining balsamic and berries in treats and you really hit a homerun with this one! Absolutely gorgeous photos, as always!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love it! I love balsamic in any way I can get it, and with fruit is one of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This pie is gorgeous! I've been in a kick of making vinaigrettes with olive oil and vinegar. I also love to make dipping oil for bread with olive oil, fresh herbs and parmesan cheese!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I use oil and vinegar to make vinaigrettes, I would like to use them in other ways too.

    ReplyDelete
  23. That is one outstanding pie! My jaw dropped - literally! Black pepper crust?? Inspired.

    ReplyDelete
  24. That pie looks amazing! Can't wait to try the recipe. Maybe I can do it when I visit the NW sometime soon, and get local cherries!

    I don't think more than a handful of days go by a year in which olive oil doesn't figure in our cooking! Balsamic vinegar is a frequent fave too. Sets my mouth to watering just to think about.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This pie looks fabulous! The cherries are just coming on strong here in Montana...and I will make this for my daughter's family. I cook with olive oil and love to use infused oils. Thanks for the givie away opportunity.
    Kristin

    ReplyDelete
  26. This pie looks so good, and I love the deep-dish style!

    I can't get enough cherries right now - this looks like a great way to switch things up a bit, and I can't wait to try the black pepper crust.

    ReplyDelete
  27. My boyfriend has an olive oil obsession, so we use it for everything in our house, but popcorn is where the nicer stuff really shines for us.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Absolutely beautiful pie, Eva! I'm intrigued by the balsamic and black pepper additions. I've got to get some cherry baking done!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Balsamic? Pepper? This is an intriguing recipe, WAY out of my norm, and I'm going to try it. We're awash in Washington cherries right now and it will be fun to bake something new. Love the jam recipe, too - thank you for including the link!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Whoops, forgot to mention one of my favorite uses for balsamic. I just learned how to make a reduction and we drizzle it on yummy things like goat-cheese-and-gruyere-filled crepes.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh the cherries, cherries and more cherries. We love going cherry picking this time of the hear in sunny California, and I'm always on a lookout for a new recipe, yours looks so good. Loved your cherry pics.

    ReplyDelete
  32. that pie looks great. sweet of sour cherries though? from your picture and description of eating them I was assuming sweet but when I saw the amount of sugar in the recipe I wondered. thanks.

    cherry season is over here now unfortunately. however, I do have some cherries stock piled in the freezer and I think some of them being used in the filling to be put over ice cream in the very near future

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's sweet cherries :) The sugar balances out the acidity of the balsamic and also thickens the juices leaking out of the cherries as they cook.

      Delete
  33. AMAZING PIE! And who could make perfect carmelized onions w/out some deliciousolive oil!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ooh I love the idea of baking with balsamic vineger!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Leslie
    I like to use olive oi and vinegar to dress vegetables.
    leslieannstevenson@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Looks super yummy. I love cherries and this will be a perfect recipe to make.



    Read more: http://www.adventures-in-cooking.com/2013/07/balsamic-cherry-pie-with-black-pepper.html#ixzz2ZTClbll2
    Follow us: @evakosmas on Twitter

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have Chicago style deep dish pizza on the mind and now I see this beautiful deep dish pie! This looks really marvelous - love your idea to use balsamic - I never would have thought of that.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Looks delicious! I love the super tall crust! :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. This looks really good...I think it would be fun to try with cherry balsamic vinegar! I'd love a chance to win the giveaway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love using flavored balsamic drizzled over avocado

      Delete
    2. That is an excellent idea! :)

      Delete
  40. lovely lattice and even more lovely filling!
    i don't use a lot of nice olive oil because i'm too cheap to buy it, but it's really awesome to use as a dip for fresh focaccia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yessss, fresh focaccia sounds so tasty right now!

      Delete
  41. Love love love mixing pepper with sweet things! Looking forward to trying this...and what a wonderful giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I am on a huge pepper kick! and I LOVE olive oil on bread... would love to try that vinegar as well, after hearing you rave about it :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. This cherry pie looks gorgeous and as soon as it gets a little less hot here in New England I will give it a try!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let me know how it turns out for you once it cools down :)

      Delete
  44. Love you ideas of using pepper in the pie crust! Now I want to make some like this but with chocolate and strawberries. Your pictures are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ana, that is so kind of you to say!

      Delete
  45. I'm at loss of words, your pie is just breathtakingly beautiful, and what a brilliant idea to add black pepper to crust!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Gorgeous! And timely...I just mixed up a bowl full of chopped cherries, dark chocolate shards and crumbled feta tossed with really good balsamic, black pepper and honey. Refraining rather unsuccessfully from eating by the spoonful as I cruise Pinterest for a good crust to bake it in. Yours just may be it! Thank you for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Cherry for a fruit pie is good choice. Your approach to crust with black pepper is something different what we get accustom to... Thank you for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  48. Balsamic is my favorite... I love to reduce it and serve it over bruschetta, I use it in pasta sauces, as a dressing on salad... so many ways! This pie looks wonderful and interesting. I hope I can get around to making it soon!

    ReplyDelete
  49. What a gorgeous pie! Love the balsamic in this! And that mile high crust?! YES!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hello,

    We Showcase Mouthwatering Gallery of World's Best Recipes to our readers daily.
    We would like to invite you to join our food community and let you to feature some of your best recipes on our website.
    Want to know more about us? Please visit http://recipesgawker.com/

    Regards
    Recipes Gawker Team

    ReplyDelete
  51. I like to put olive oil on chicken or fish.


    melodyj(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  52. Olive oil over warm potatoes with paprika is delish!
    Olive oil and Balsamic drizzle over salads is my choice, being from Argentina we don't use dressings on the like here in US.
    For us is olive oil and balsamic or wine vinegar and salt.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I use olive oil on everything from salads to baked potatoes, but I haven't gotten creative with balsamic vinegar yet. I have only used it in dressings for salads.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I like putting olive oil on ice cream!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Eva, your food styling is so incredibly rustic and beautiful—especially when you're shooting things like black pepper and dark cherries, which are already rustic in their own right. This is gorgeous! I actually happen to have a bag of cherries sitting on the kitchen table right now, soooooo...

    ReplyDelete
  56. Your Balsamic Cherry Pie is gorgeous. I would definitely make this pie with the oil and vinegar. :)

    ReplyDelete
  57. Beautiful photos! I'll have to try my hand at this pie some time!
    - Morgan

    ReplyDelete
  58. I love using extra virgin olive oil for dipping a crusty baguette.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I use olive oil in all my pasta dishes and vinaigrettes.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I love balsamic vinegar on everything! roasted veggies, roasted chickpeas, caramelized onions, in cakes and cookies and brownies and ice cream, with cherries and plums and strawberries...salads, pasta, everything!

    ReplyDelete
  61. I, like many of the other commenters here, am a HUGE fan of balsamic everything! & i just recently discovered Zuni Cafe's Balsamic Bloody Mary: http://www.foodspotting.com/reviews/3807286 If anyone's in SF -- you MUST taste it :)

    This pie looks AMAZE!! the photos are also quite stunning. Great work!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Your photos are just stunning, this pie looks like perfection :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. Oh my, what a sophisticated combo-- I can't wait to try! I've never considered adding black pepper to a dessert!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I love cherry season - balsamic vinegar and cherries isn't a combo I've tried before. Super excited to make this!

    ReplyDelete
  65. What an incredible talent you have for pictures, you have your signature, congratulations :)

    ReplyDelete
  66. One of the best recipes I've ever tried!
    Thank you for sharing! ;o)
    http://cumgaudiomagno.blogspot.it/2014/07/cherry-pie-allaceto-balsamico-e-base-al.html

    ReplyDelete
  67. This is so pretty. The lattice on top is just perfect!

    ReplyDelete