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Cooking for Thanksgiving? Tips, tricks to perfect your pie baking skills

MILWAUKEE -- Pie is a staple dessert at many holiday dinners -- but some people might be too intimidated to attempt making on themselves. Food science expert, Christina Ward, joins Real Milwaukee with the simple steps you can take to ensure your pie is perfect every time.

Cherry Pie Recipe

Crust:

  • 2½ C pastry flour
  • 1 t fine salt
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2¼ C cold, unsalted butter (cut into tablespoon-sized pieces)
  • 6 to 8 T ice water

Mix flour, salt, and sugar together in a sturdy bowl. Cut in (using a pastry cutter) the butter until the entire mixture has a crumb-like consistency.

Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and continue to blend with pastry cutter; just until the dough sticks together.  (Add the rest of the ice water if the dough isn’t quite sticky enough.) Don’t overmix.

Divide the dough into two flattened disks and wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate a minimum of one hour.

When ready, place parchment onto counter/table surface. Place dough disk onto parchment. Place another piece of parchment on top of the dough disk; roll dough to desired thickness. (Recommend: ¼ inch).  Repeat for second dough disk. Place rolled dough crust into pie plate.

Filling:

  • 6 cups Door County cherries (You can use fresh, jarred or canned. The type of cherry you choose will determine how sweet or tart your pie will be.)
  • ½ C sugar
  • Pinch fine salt
  • ¼ t ground cinnamon
  • 3 T Cointreau liqueur
  • ¼ C cornstarch (or clear jel)
  • ½ C cold water

If using canned/jarred cherries, separate cherries from juice, saving the juice. If using fresh, pit the cherries then place in bowl and mash with potato masher. (Mash until cherries are ‘broken’ and begin to release their juice.) Then separate mashed cherries from juice, saving the juice.

In a large saucepan, pour drained cherry juice, then add sugar, salt, cinnamon, and Cointreau.  In a small bowl, mix cornstarch (or clear jel) and cold water together until it forms a thin paste. Heat the juice mixture until begins to simmer, add the thickening mixture. Whisk continually as it comes to boil. As it begins to boil, the slurry thickens quickly and scorches easily. When thickened, remove from heat. Gently fold the the slurry into the bowl of cherries. Now fold entire mixture of cherries and slurry into pie crust.

With your second rolled pie crust, cut into inch-wide strips. (You can use a fluted edge rolling cutter for a decorative finish.) Beginning in the middle of the pie, lay the longest strip over the top. Lay another strip crossways across the first at the middle. Switching directions with each strip, weave the lattice top until the pie is covered. Trim the edge of the pie with a sharp knife, then crimp to pie plate with tines of a fork.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 25 minutes. Pie must be fully cooled before serving (about 2 hours).