Australia, a land of diverse landscapes and rich culinary traditions, offers a unique twist to the classic cherry pie recipe. As we embark on this gastronomic adventure, we’ll explore the vibrant flavors and techniques that make the Australian cherry pie a delightful treat for any occasion.
Cherries: Start with fresh, plump cherries. Opt for local Australian varieties like Tasmanian black cherries or Bing cherries for an authentic taste. Aim for around 4 cups of pitted cherries.
Pastry Dough: Create a buttery and flaky crust using 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, 1 cup of unsalted butter (cold and cut into cubes), and around 6 tablespoons of ice water.
Sugar: Use a combination of white and brown sugar for the filling. Approximately 1 cup, with adjustments based on the sweetness of the cherries.
Cornstarch: To thicken the filling, add 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch. This ensures a perfect consistency without compromising the cherry flavor.
Lemon Juice: Enhance the tartness with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. It adds a zesty balance to the sweetness of the cherries.
Vanilla Extract: Introduce depth of flavor with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. This elevates the overall taste profile of the pie.
Egg Wash: For a golden-brown finish, prepare an egg wash using one beaten egg and a tablespoon of water.
Optional: Almond Extract or Kirsch: Consider adding a teaspoon of almond extract or a splash of Kirsch for an extra layer of complexity.
Prepare the Cherries: Wash, pit, and halve the cherries. Ensure they are ripe and juicy for the best flavor. Toss them in lemon juice to preserve their vibrant color.
Make the Pastry Dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the cold butter cubes and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to incorporate until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add ice water, mixing until the dough comes together. Divide into two discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Roll Out the Dough: On a floured surface, roll out one disc to fit your pie dish. Place it in the dish and trim the edges. Roll out the second disc for the top crust or lattice, depending on your preference.
Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Prepare the Filling: In a bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract. Toss until the cherries are evenly coated.
Fill the Pie: Pour the cherry filling into the prepared pie crust. If using a lattice top, weave strips of dough over the filling. Otherwise, place the second rolled-out crust over the filling, seal the edges, and cut slits for ventilation.
Egg Wash: Brush the top crust with the egg wash to achieve a glossy, golden finish.
Bake: Place the pie in the preheated oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. Cover the edges with foil if they brown too quickly.
Cool and Serve: Allow the pie to cool for at least an hour before serving. This ensures the filling sets and intensifies in flavor. Serve slices with a dollop of vanilla ice cream for an extra indulgence.
Indulging in the art of crafting an Australian cherry pie is not just a culinary experience; it’s a celebration of the country’s diverse produce and a testament to the joy shared through good food. With each slice, savor the melding of sweet and tart notes, encapsulated in a buttery crust – a true manifestation of the Down Under’s culinary excellence.