Cherry crumb pie

Cherry crumb pie

Cherries have managed to slip past me, unscathed, for the past couple of months. I consciously avoided them in hopes that they'd go away by the time I came around. But alas, they got me. I was shopping for a bag of carrots, and they got me. I couldn't avoid their perfectly red hue, or the fact that they were on sale for $3/pound. So I bought six pounds, without any idea as to what I was going to do with them. Correction: I bought four pounds, without any idea as to what I was going to do with them. The other two pounds were purchased for the sole purpose of stuffing into my face.

I woke up early Sunday morning and decided to pit the cherries, despite the fact that their fate was still undecided. As I bloodied my fingers with their juice, I thought of all the cherry-filled possibilities; muffins and crumbles and tartlets and pie. I narrowed it down to a crumble or a pie, but my mind was being particularly indecisive that morning. Back and for it went, weighing the options; the positives and negatives. And when I couldn't take it anymore, I settled on both. Because that seemed like the right thing to do. A cherry pie with crumb topping? Definitely the right thing to do.

Cherry crumb pie

I make no apologies for this pie. It's chock full of sugar, and that's fine by me. The pie crust is thick - just the way I like it - and the cherries are sweet and juicy and perfectly accompanied by a crunchy, vanilla bean topping. Chances are, if you make it, this pie will be a pain in your ass. You're going to get frustrated with it. But trust me, it's worth the headache; it's worth the the crumble topping on the floor that clings to the bottom of your bare feet, the cherry juice stains all over your favorite tank top, the seemingly endless pile of dishes in your sink. And just when you think you can't take it anymore, the timer will sound, you'll remove the pie from the oven, and.. just like that, you'll marvel over it's beauty and breathe a sigh of relief. You'll probably want to stick a fork straight into the pie to have a little taste, but you shouldn't do that. I heard it'll burn your mouth.

CHERRY CRUMB PIE

CRUST
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid
4-6 tablespoons filtered water, ice cold

FILLING
5 cups halved cherries
1 tablespoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup tapioca starch

TOPPING
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup sucanat
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Drizzle in the coconut oil and mix with a fork to combine. Add 4 tablespoons of the water and mix with your fingers until a dough starts to form (if needed, add an additional tablespoon or 2, to get the proper consistency). It's not going to be a perfectly smooth dough, FYI. So don't spaz out over it's unsightly crinkles. Pat the dough into a disk then wrap with plastic; refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the other parts of the pie. Add the cherry halves to a large bowl and toss with almond extract. In a small bowl, whisk together the cane sugar and tapioca starch, then toss with cherries; set aside. Prepare the crumble topping by whisking together the flour, almond meal, sucanat and salt. Using a fork, stir in the coconut oil. Add the rolled oats and toss to combine; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Sprinkle an 8-10" pie pan with flour; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out into a large circle, 1/4-1/3" thick. Fit the dough into the prepared pie pan, trim the edges, then finish with the detail of your choice. Fill with cherries then spread the crumb topping evenly over the cherries; press firmly to pack. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake at 375˚F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover the edges of the pie crust with foil. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving. Store in a not-so-air-tight container for up to three days.

Yield: 8 pieces