Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cherry Pie... with issues.

My mom always paints stuff on the top of fruit pies with food coloring. 
Except the tops of her pies don't have fault lines...

The Cherry Festival starts this weekend!  Eeeep!

Wait... you've never heard of the Cherry Festival?  Let me fill you in!

It always takes place the first full week of July in Traverse City, Michigan.  Did you know that Traverse City is the cherry capital of the world?  Michigan produces 70-75% of the tart cherries grown in the United States, and most of those are grown in the counties surrounding Traverse City.  The Cherry Festival is a week-long celebration of cherries, including parades (a Cherry Queen is crowned), cherry pit-spitting contests, cherry pie-eating contests, concerts and more.  For people who live in Traverse City, it renders our tiny hometown nearly useless for a week, as 500,000 people descend and cause unbelievable traffic.  But it's fun!

In honor of the Cherry Festival, and because they had fresh Michigan tart cherries at the farmer's market last week, I decided to bake a pie.  I've never baked one with fresh cherries before, because the pies that my mom makes from frozen Michigan Montmorency cherries (which I told you about when I made Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Bars) are flipping amazing, and I never felt the need.  After having pitted what felt like a million cherries the other night, I don't think I'll ever do that again, at least not for a pie.  Or not until I get a cherry pitter.

My hand, stained bright red with cherry juice.

Did I mention that my mom makes utterly amazing pies?  Seriously.  At Thanksgiving, we have three.  Pumpkin (obviously), and pecan for my dad, who's from Memphis, and then cherry.  Because... they live in Traverse City and it's my mom's favorite.  You really can't blame her.  One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is actually the piece of cherry pie I get to have for breakfast the next day.

I pitted each one of these with a knife!  It took forever!

I had some trouble with this pie.  The crust just wouldn't stay together!  I rolled it out, and everything seemed to be going well.  Then I tried to get it off the counter and into the pie plate, and... it fell apart.  Not like one little tear, or a rip down the middle that's easily fixed.  Like, fell apart into a million crumbly pieces.  So that I had to pick up each tiny piece, put it in the plate, and try to smash it into the other pieces to get a pie crust that was resonably intact.  Thankfully, I had a little bit better luck with the top crust - you can't exactly patch-as-you-go on top of the fruit, now can you?  I was more than a little frustrated.  Then I almost burned it.  But it's still cherry pie, and it still tasted ridiculously good.  That said, I still won't give you the recipe, because it is woefully incomplete, and only escaped becoming a total trainwreck because, well... it was still made with butter, sugar, and fresh fruit.  And that can only get so bad.

What is your hometown famous for? 

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of painting the cherries on top. I have never seen that before. Despite the problems you had with the crust, it looks like it turned out well anyway. I wouldn't have known it gave you any trouble!

    I am SO bummed I'm going to miss the Cherry Festival... I've never been to it before and I really want to go!