I'm just as guilty as any other avid baker/cook when it comes to an overabundance of kitchen supplies. It has gotten to the point where I simply cannot cram any more pots/pans/mini appliances that I don't really use/baking dishes into my cabinets. Trust me, I have tried to re-stack or rearrange the whole lot in every way possible. Nothing new is taking up residency in those cabinets unless something gets the boot in its place.
The same applies for my utensil drawers. To put it mildly, they are a cluttered mess. Despite this, I still seem to instinctively know where my grapefruit cutter is whenever I need it --
Wait a minute. Why do I even have a grapefruit cutter? I never eat grapefruit. Neither does Eric.
Clearly, I have a problem. It's time to put a stop to my habit of mass collecting kitchen utensils that are only good for one rare purpose. I'm looking at you, Mr. Corn Kernel Remover.
With this in mind, it probably wasn't the ideal time for me to bring home several pound of cherries with the intention to bake a pie. I don't own a cherry pitter. Damn.
Folks, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Google is a beautiful thing. My cherry splatter-free t-shirt and unstained hands are proof. After googling "ways to pit cherries without a cherry pitter," I learned a very cool and creative technique, which I will now pass on to you (you're welcome.)
(The only downside to this technique is that it required me to empty out one of Eric's bottles of Sam Adams lager. Sorry Eric, I might have forgotten to mention that to you.)
Anyhow, here it is:
1. Stem cherries
2. Hold a cherry in place over the top of the empty beer bottle
3. Using the pointy end of a chopstick or a skewer, push the pit through the cherry and into the bottom of the beer bottle. No clean up required!
4. Repeat with other cherries. Easy peasy.
Highly technical, I know, but I am convinced that you can handle it.
Oh, and somewhere along the way, the intended cherry pie turned into cherry pie bars. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Enjoy.
Here are my extra tips for making this sweet and summery treat:
- Need some help with your lattice-work? Here is a little how-to tutorial, compliments of All Recipes.
- If you don't want to make bars, this recipe can be turned into a deep dish traditional pie, you might end up with a little bit of extra dough, but the filling amount should still be the same.
- You may use frozen cherries for this recipe. Just be sure to thaw and drain them before mixing with the other ingredients. Otherwise, you will likely have a soggy dessert!
- If you don't have turbinado sugar, then use regular granulated sugar or sanding sugar.
- Cover the bars loosely with foil if they start to overbrown during the baking process (this shouldn't happen, but ovens can be temperamental!)
Sour Cherry Lattice Pie Bars
For the Crusts
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of 1 small orange or lemon (optional -- I just love zest!)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
6-8 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
5 cups fresh cherries, stems removed and pitted
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Prepare the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and optional zest in the work bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour mixture and pulse an additional 8-10 times, until the butter pieces are the size of small peas.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, and sprinkle it with 1/4 cup of the ice water. Mix the dough with a rubber spatula, adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough starts to come together in large clumps. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured work surface and knead it together with your hands, gathering it into a large ball.
Divide the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other, and flatten each into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a 9X9-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing for a 1-inch overhang. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger piece of dough to a 12X12-inch square (it doesn't need to be perfect!), and carefully transfer it to the pan, pressing to fit into the corners. Chill the dough while assembling the filling.
In a large bowl, combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt, tossing well to combine. Pour the mixture into the bottom crust, spreading evenly.
Roll out the smaller piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch square. Using a paring knife or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into 3/4-inch strips. Arrange the strips, lattice-style, on top of the cherry filling, pressing into the sides of the bottom crust to seal.
Brush the top of the crust with the cream. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is a lovely golden brown, and the filling is bubbling. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.