Kitchen Overlord is nerding out over pie this week in anticipation of our favorite made up holiday. That’s right – we’re bringing you an entire week of nerdy pies to help you properly celebrate Pi day on 3-14!
In honor of Supernatural’s Men of Letters, we’re kicking Pi Week off with an ordinary looking pie hiding some spicy secrets.
Alright, Men of Letters. I know you’re having nightmares because that pesky Shapeshifter and Vetela keep sending us wedding invitations written in the blood of their slaughtered victims, but if we’re going to save some lives, what we really need right now is to ground ourselves with normalcy. We need to remember what we’re fighting for! And that’s why I’m disappointed as heck that half of you haven’t signed up for our Tuesday night pot-luck. Right now we’ve got tuna casserole, two different jello salads, and what someone wrote as ‘shrimp cocktail minus the shrimp plus a lot of vodka.’ That’s just a Bloody Mary, Joe.
While we’re waiting on the next call from the hunters tracking that nightmare couple, I’m going to teach Frank how to make my nana’s famous cherry pie. If you want a slice, sign up for the darn potluck already.
Men of Letters Spiced Cherry Pie
- 4 cups frozen cherries
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ tsp hazelnut extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup sweet white wine
- ¼ cup honey*
- 1 tbsp ginger liqueur
- 2 purchased deep dish pie crusts*
Dump the frozen cherries in an oversized bowl. Smother them in the sugar and mix it in so every cherry is in touch with some sweet white crystal goodness. Now put a clean plate on top of the bowl to keep the bugs out and walk away.
The sugar will draw the moisture out of the cherries, creating a natural syrup the color and thickness of blood mixed with chocolate sauce. I’m still sorry about the incident at the diner, Stan. No one expected that. Now, if you’re busy, you can do this the day before you make your pie. Just drown the cherries in sugar, cover them up, and leave them in the fridge overnight. It won’t hurt them. If you’re in a mood to make a pie right now, though let the cherries soak for at least half an hour, or until they’ve sweated out ⅓ – ½ cup of juice.
While the sugar works its magic on the cherries, go ahead and prep your pie crust. You can always make one from scratch, but we’ve got a bunch of frozen ones down here in the bunker. I checked the label, and it looks like our generic store brand cheaped out. There isn’t even lard or butter in here! It’s all corn and soybean oil! It looks like a lot of grocers have all-plant based crusts. What’s the world coming to? The next thing you know they’ll have fake meats made out of beans!
If you’re just making this for the boys, go ahead and bake the pie right in the cheap aluminum pan that came with the frozen crust. If you want to impress a gal, thaw it out first and carefully put the bottom crust in our fancy pie pan. That is, if you can find it in this mess you boys call a kitchen.
As for the top crust, you can always thaw some dough out and weave it into an old fashioned lattice, but I preferred to cut it into our masonic symbol, because some days I’m fancy. If you make a cutout, preheat your oven to 425F and bake the masonic symbol top crust for 10-12 minutes, or until it’s a nice golden brown. Set it aside for later.
By now, the cherries should be nice and juicy. Scoop the cherries and juices into a small soup pot and add the hazelnut extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Give it all a good stir so the spices are well mixed in. Now add the cornstarch.
You’ll want to grab a fork for this part. Aggressively mix the cornstarch into the cold juices until there aren’t any lumps. As soon as you add heat, that starch will seize up, so you want to make sure everything is completely smooth.
Put your pot over a medium heat and stir occasionally until it starts to simmer. Once you see some bubbles, add the white wine, honey, and ginger liqueur. Keep stirring occasionally until the mix is about the thickness of two day old blood. Speaking of which, you really need to finish cleaning up those werewolf remains, Frank.
Turn your oven down to 375F. Pour your cherry mix into the waiting bottom crust. No, don’t put the top crust on yet. You do that after it comes out of the oven. Yes, really. Trust me here.
Bake your cherry pie for 30-35 minutes, or until the bottom crust is completely done and the filling is gloriously dark, thick, and bubbly. As soon as you take it out of the oven, carefully position your pre-baked Masonic symbol on top. The sooner you do this, the more the warm pie juices will cling to the crust, gluing it in place.
Let the cherry pie cool for a couple hours before serving. You can put it in the fridge if you want, but since there isn’t any meat or dairy in it, it’ll be perfectly fine sitting on the counter at room temperature for a couple days – if it lasts that long.
Substitute agave syrup or more white sugar for the honey.
Also, check your pie crust ingredient labels. A surprising number of generic store brands don’t advertise that they use corn and soy oils instead of animal fats, but if you know to check, you’ll find a lot of cheap, accessible pie crusts and puff pastries are accidentally vegan!
You can find gluten free pie crusts in the frozen section of most health food/schmancy-food stores.