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Cherries

It’s official: Jez makes a mean cherry-pie-come-tart. And with the cherry trees in full blossom right now we thought it would be a good time to share Jez’s not-so-secret pie recipe. Hopefully this post will inspire you to do some baking when the branches on a tree near you are bursting with fruit later in the year.

So Jez, what do we need?

350g of flour

Sugar I add lashings (I use caster & brown)

2 Medium eggs (free range, free range, free range)

Lemon juice (preferably fresh but if you don’t have it - Jif it)

750g - 1kg of cherries (get rid of the stalks and stones obviously)

300g of cold butter (mmmm lovely butter)

Vanilla (pods are nicer but extract is nice too)

Water (just a smidge - start off with 1 tbsp)

and finally one to two children for bowl and spoon licking duties.

My weights are approximate and tend to change per pie. Basically I wing it, but they always taste divine.

cherries on the tree ready to be picked

Now, you can get your cherries from anywhere you like - just make sure they’re edible, not ornamental! We tend to make our cherry pies once a year – at cherry-picking time. There are three trees that are a short walk from our house. I keep a sharp eye on them (because ripe cherries have a short life on the tree) and once they’re ripe for picking it’s carrier bags in our pockets and off we go. Good to take the kids for this bit too and get them on your shoulders for extra height.

cherries picked fresh from the tree and put into a bag

One bag of cherries. £90 worth - had we bought the cherries from the same place as we got that bag. Free for us though, we love it – I love the walk home spitting stones into the hedgerows.

Have your pinnies at the ready for when you get home.

getting rid of the cherry branches and find our cherries

Now, to get rid of those pesky leaves and stalks…

two big bowls of cherries ready to be de-stoned

Done!

bowl of cherries just waiting to be stoneless

This bit takes a while but you get an enormous sense of satisfaction when you see the cherries in all their glory. It’s time to get those stones out. #TheMessyBit

jez taking the stones out of the cherries

Cherry blood everywhere, this bit makes a right old mess - but we love it!

cherry juice all over the kitchen table it looks like a cherry massacre

There’s been a murder (said in the accent of Jim Taggart)

a bucket of cherry stones ready for the next generation to be planted

One bucket of baby cherry trees.

all the elements you'll need to make the perfect cherry pie

Here’s the stuff you’ll need for your pie. Normally I would use a fresh lemon and a vanilla pod but I didn’t have either. The dark brown sugar is lovely and sticky – that’s a must-have.

Now you’re probably thinking where's the flipping instructions to make this flippping pie? Fear not, it's at the end. It's a bit boring all that stir this in add that blah blah.

one uncooked cherry pie all ready to go in the oven

After lots of rolling out pastry, breaking eggs, mixing in sugar, bashing up cherries and the passing of bowls and spoons to the kids – Tah-dah the almost finished pie emerges in its unbaked state. Time to pop this lovely looking fella in the oven.

one freshly sliced in to cherry pie fresh from the oven - it smells divine

Oh the smell… it’s amazing! Kettle on…

one piece of cherry pie on a plate with a hot cup of tea next to, the perfect combination

Cherry pie… cup of tea… Life doesn't get any better than that!

 

Ok here's the boring bit, reading method instructions. Why not mix it up a bit and add a little something yourself like black treacle or a handful of blackcurrants.

Method

1. For the pie filling, heat the cherries in a pan over a low heat, stirring continuously, until they start to bubble. 

2. Add lashing of sugar to the cherries.

3. Mix the sugar and cherries together.

4. For the pastry: mix the flour, butter and sugar together in a bowl, get your hands in and rub it through your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

5. Mix together the beaten egg and water. Set aside one tablespoon of this mixture to use as a glaze. Add the remaining egg and water mixture to your bowl a little at a time; stir with your hands until the mixture comes together as a dough. 

6. Roll out the pastry onto floured work surface until it's bigger than your pie tin (don't forget to grease it with butter).

7. Brush the pastry rim of the pie dish with a little of the reserved beaten egg.

8. Roll out the remainder of the pasty to make a lid, throw on some flour and roll it around your rolling pin.

9. Pour your cherry mixture into the pastry lined dish.

10. Gently lift the rolled pastry, using the rolling pin, and place on top of the cherry filling. Press the pastry down at the edges to seal. Trim off any excess pastry, then crimp the edges with your fingertips. 

9. Transfer the pie dish to a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

10. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. 

11. When the pie has chilled, brush the pastry lid with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle over a little sugar. If you’re feeling particularly creative make some cherries out of pastry. Using a sharp knife, cut a small cross on the pie lid. 

12. Bake the pie in the oven for 25-30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and continue to cook for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and the pie filling is bubbling. 

13. Serve with a nice cup of tea - Yorkshire tea!

Enjoy!

cherries for a cherry pie