Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Real 1950s Cherry Pie

For Memorial Day, I felt like doing something TOTALLY American and 50s: baking a cherry pie! In addition to being politically active, that is the kind of thing that makes me feel patriotic. Well, I also happened to have a huge bag of cherries, so….

Keepin it real since 1955...

Cherry pie. It screams summer, but of course you can use canned or frozen cherries and make it any time of year – and to be SO mid-century, frozen would make sense. In the 50s, consumers were told that canned foods were clean, healthy and engineered to be more nutritious than dirty old things you grew yourself. After the war, when people had to grow food in “victory gardens” to eat, you can see why processed foods were "modern" and appealing… but I digress. I used fresh cherries this time but I DID use shortening in my pastry because that’s good and retro. Yuck! But… yum.

This is all you need! No excuses. 

So pie is basically a crust (or two) and a filling, a very simple and stunningly delicious treat that isn’t hard to master and is most certainly worth the effort. For this pie, I chose a recipe from my 1955 Duncan Hines “Dessert Book” which came from the Stagecoach Inn in Manitou Springs, CO (You guys, this place has been around since 1881! Don’t you love it when a recipe has a pedigree like that? I wonder if they still make this pie… HELLO, ROAD TRIP!!!). What I love most about this recipe, and many pie recipes you will find in old cook-books, is that there are limited directions. Implying, dear reader, that you ought already to know how to make pie, so you are presented with the ingredients for this specific one, and a brief sketch of technique. You say you can’t bake a pie? What are you, un-American?

rolling the bottom crust

my helper making the lattice top

Another reason I chose this recipe is that the filling isn’t thickened with tapioca or otherwise (not that there is anything wrong with that, but when you have fresh fruit, you can go very simple and let the fruit be the star). This filling is flavored with sugar (I cut it to just under  1 cup) and a drop of almond extract, which is a fabulous note to add to cherries. I did make a lattice top, simply because I wanted to teach my daughter how to do that (so she doesn’t need to watch a Youtube video, for god’s sake!) but we didn’t get fancy with lemon zest or an egg wash or fancy bird-shaped pie vents. But we should have used a deep dish pan to prevent over-flow... next time. Must go make another right away, this a matter of National Importance. 


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