Haskins Garden Centres are encouraging gardeners to make the most of their homegrown cherries with a traditional cherry pie recipe.
With National Cherry Day just around the corner, on Tuesday July 16, it’s the perfect occasion to bake a fresh cherry pie completely from scratch, for all the family to enjoy.
Alasdair Urquhart, Haskins’ in-house plant expert, commented: “Cherries are an attractive fruit that are appreciated for their taste and sweetness – and fresh cherries work brilliantly in a sweet pastry pie.
“Cherries prefer a deep, fertile, well-drained soil with a slightly acid pH of 6.5-6.7 and have a dislike of shallow, sandy or wet soils. The ideal time to pick cherries is between July and August. Even if you haven’t had time to grow your own cherries this year, you can still follow our step-by-step recipe.”
• 1kg fresh cherries
• Lemon juice
• 2tbsp corn flour
• 100g caster sugar (with extra for dusting)
• ½ vanilla pod
• 1tbsp cherry brandy (optional)
For the pastry:
• 350g plain flour
• 150g cold unsalted butter
• 100g caster sugar
• 50g ground almonds
• 2 large egg yolks
• Cold milk
- Make the pastry: rub or blitz (in a food processor) the flour and butter until you have crumbs.
- Add the sugar, almonds and egg yolks. Knead or pulse into a dough – you might need a dash of cold milk to help bind it together.
- Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Pit the cherries – add a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.
- Mix the cornflour to a paste with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.
- Put the sugar in a wide pan and scrape in the vanilla seeds.
- Over a low heat dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and cook without stirring until you have a dark caramel.
- Lower the heat and add the cherries and liqueur (if using). Once you have a dark compote, add the cornflour mix and stir until thick. Set aside to cool.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 and pop in a baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use to line a 20cm by 4cm deep pie dish.
- Fill with the compote.
- Roll out the rest of the pastry to make a lid, brush the edge of the base with water. Lay the lid on top of the pie and crimp the edges to seal. Brush with a little cold milk.
- Transfer the pie to the hot baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbling. Rest for 10 minutes.
- Dust with caster sugar and serve while hot or cold with vanilla ice cream.
Alasdair added: “Cherries are highly nutritious and incredibly good for you; being low in calories, full of antioxidants, and containing melatonin to help regulate sleep patterns and anthocyanins to relieve inflammation and boron, which is helpful for bone health.
“Cherries are typically large trees and so the development of the new dwarfing ‘Gisela’ root-stock is great news for the home gardener, meaning cherries can be easily grown in compact spaces too.”
Haskins has centres in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone and Snowhill in West Sussex. For more information visit www.haskins.co.uk