Mid-Winter Cherry Pie

”Gagged in horror” is the only way I can describe my reaction when I saw how much butter goes into one of the pastry recipes provided in Household Management.

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INGREDIENTS – To every lb. of flour allow 3/4 lb. of butter, 1 tablespoonful of sifted sugar, 1/3 pint of water.

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Even though I only made a quarter of the given ingredient quantities (there are only 2 of us), there was still quite enough butter waiting to be rubbed into the flour, thank you very much.

As crazy as it sounds, the pastry was absolutely beautiful to work with – the Nigella Lawson of the pastry world.  The butter gave it a soft, smooth texture and made it tremendously easy to roll it out.  Once cooked, it looks like a cross between shortcrust pastry and puff pastry, which I liked.

We had a couple of jars of cherries in the kitchen that I wanted to use up (normally I prefer fresh, seasonal stuff, but my boyfriend is mad about – and I mean mad about – Cherry Cheesecake made from a Canadian packet mix.  In a nearly fruitless – you’ll forgive the pun – search to find canned cherries in a sweet enough sauce to please His Cheesecake Highness, the jars were consigned to the kitchen cupboards when a suitably sweet contender was found).  I had a hankering for Cherry Tart and, as per usual, turned to Mrs Beeton for advice.

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INGREDIENTS – 1–1/2 lb. of cherries, 2 small tablespoonfuls of moist sugar, 1/2 lb. of short crust, No. 1210 or 1211.

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As I’ve already confessed, the cherries I used were not exactly picked yesterday.   My boyfriend happened to walk in just as I was putting it in the oven.

“You know that’s all liquid, right?” he back-seat baked at me.

“No no, I mean yeah yeah, but it’s all syrup, so it’ll all dry up in the oven.”

He shook his head at me, unconvinced.  But of course, I knew better.

Until I took it out of the oven, let it cool, then tried to cut it into neat slices.  This is what it looked like:

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On the plus side, I enjoyed the unexpected tartness of the cherries.

“Do you like the pie?” I enquired as we started to tuck into it.

“Yeah, it’s nice.”

“It’s full of butter”

“Yeah, that’s why it’s nice.”

Although I wouldn’t admit it to his face, I have to agree – for once he’s absolutely right.

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Shortcrust Recipe and Cherry Tart Recipes: (Recipes 1210 and 1261 respectively): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/27-chapter27.html

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