Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sweet Cherry Birthday Pie and Gelato

Sweet Cherry Pie and Vanilla Gelato

June is a busy time at Mimi's kitchen. We have plans to celebrate Father's Day, High School Graduation (we already had college graduation in May) and Boy Mimi, the baby of the family turns sixteen. The tradition  at Mimi's Kitchen  is that the birthday person picks the birthday meal, and dessert. Boy Mimi is a lover of all things sweet, but he does have a preference for pie and cherry pie is high on his list of favorites (along with coconut and strawberry rhubarb).
I was lucky enough to be able to use fresh cherries because they are readily available at this time of the year. I got a big bag at the store, recruited Mini Me and Mimi Jr., and we went to work making his birthday dessert. Mini Me spent a long time pitting all those cherries, but it was definitely worth it for this pie  had an intense fresh cherry flavor. Paired with Julia Child's flaky pie crust, it was truly delicious.
Note to Boy Mimi:  As with most fruit pies, this pie  needs a few hour to cool before serving, so the filing has time to set and the pie is easier to slice.

Sweet Cherry Pie
Double Crust pie
4 cups pitted sweet cherries
3 tablespoon tapioca
1 1/3 cups sugar *if the cherries are super sweet, you can use less sugar, just adjust to your taste
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sweet butter

Roll out 1/2 half of pie dough and line a pie pan. Put in the refrigerator to chill (along with the other half of the pie dough) while making the filling.
Combine cherries, sugar, tapioca, salt and almond extract, let sit for 15 minutes.  Pour fruit in to pie shell and dot with butter.
Cover with a well pricked top or a lattice top. You can sprinkle the top with coarse sugar if you would like. Bake 10 minutes at 450F, then reduce heat to 350F and bake about 40 minutes longer or until golden and brown and the filling is bubbly.
 After the 10 minutes at 450 I covered the edges of the pie in foil to prevent over browning. Remove the foil during the last ten minutes in the oven.

I use a Julia Child recipe for pie crust that is always tender and flaky. Just be sure that you do not over mix your pie dough. You can find the recipe  here.

What would fruit pie be without ice cream?  According to Boy Mimi, that would be a crime. So being the good big sister, Mimi Jr. whipped up some very yummy vanilla gelato to top the birthday pie.

Vanilla Gelato
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Bring the milk to a simmer over low heat. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks until creamy. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg mixture, than beat in remaining milk, a little at a time. Stir in the sugar, then transfer back to the sauce pan or a double boiler and cook over gentle heat (do not boil), stiring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl set in ice water to stop the cooking process. Allow to cool then add the cream and vanilla extract. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 2 hours, then churn in an ice cream freezer according to manufacturers directions.
Because the gelato was like soft serve when it was done churning, I froze it in a plastic container for another hour so it was easier to scoop.