Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sour Cherry Pie

                                    “Montmorency cherries like the chubby lips of fat women;”*

Cherry Pie
(Listening: Frank Kimbrough: "Play"

Years ago when our oldest daughter was still small enough to fit into a Snuggli,  my wife and I would pick the cherries from our friend’s sour cherry tree. Pitting the cherries was a bit of a chore but after that task was completed, we could pull a bag from the freezer and bake a cherry pie long after the season was just a memory.
Sadly, that tree no longer exists so I had to do my cherry picking at Stauffer Family Farm, at the Skippack Farmer’s Market. I picked up a cherry pitter at a kitchen supply store when it was marked down so pitting cherries has gotten much easier over the years.

Cherry pies can be problematic because you never know exactly how much juice is going to be given off by the cherries. If you use cherries that you have frozen and thawed, you will probably end up discarding the juice given up by the cherries when they thaw but there will still be more. Some recipes call for cooking the filling first to make sure that the filling thickens properly. Then, it’s a simple matter of filling a partially baked pie or tart shell with the filling, covering with a crumb top, and baking it until the crumb is brown. If you do it this way remember, a warm filling goes into a warm pie shell.

Tonight will be another pie night with friends; we had to take a week off since they were away attending the Rochester Jazz Festival. We placated ourselves with another black raspberry/blueberry pie and jazz from an assortment of CD’s. Cherry pie is not a favorite of our youngest daughter, but I have a surprise for her in the freezer.

Sour Cherry Pie
For one 9” pie
You will need a double recipe of pie dough, if making a top crust pie

4 cups pitted sour cherries
¾ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1. Place the cherries into a bowl; add the sugar, cornstarch and stir. Set bowl aside.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough to 1/8th inch thickness and fit it into the pie pan. If using a crumb topping, trim the edges of the dough and crimp the dough around the outer edge of the pie. Refrigerate the pie shell for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 450 degrees. If using a top crust, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface so it is ready to use. Remove pie shell from the refrigerator. Stir the cherries again and pour the cherries and their juices into the pie shell. Top with the second piece of dough, sealing the edges and crimping the dough around the outer edge of the pie. (A lattice top is nice on a cherry pie, too.) Place the pie onto a baking pan and put the pie into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the oven and bake for an additional 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

* from The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola,  (translation by Mark Kurlansky)


Frank Kimbrough's pianism is constantly lyrical, even in this 2005 outing which is musically influenced by two of his earliest mentors, the pianists Paul Bley and Andrew Hill, both of whom sit just outside of the jazz mainstream. The late Paul Motian is superb throughout, but then again, he did write the book on drumming in a piano trio. Play is aptly named. A few takes, no rehearsals, everyone in the same room, no headphones, total communication.
Here is a link to Kimbrough playing solo at New York's Rubin Museum:

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