There is one food item you should never give anyone to eat… as a gift. Chocolate Covered Cherries.
Because, regardless of how thoughtful you thought you were being, you’re going to have to sit there and watch them try managing to eat one without either:
a.) squirting the encased syrup all over themselves (and, of course, you)…
b.) They’re going to smile and say thank-you… with all that wax laden, cherry bit, melty chocolate residue adhered to their teeth.
A couple of weeks ago, the local farm stand had huge bins of bing cherries. We both like cherries here, so I grabbed a big ol’ bag of them. Here’s the thing with produce like cherries. While ALL cherries may look the delicious and sweet, sometimes what you get is all show and no-go. Do yourself a favor, grab a couple of random cherries out of the bin and eat them. The “big ol’ bag” I grabbed was full of mushy, sour cherries and not very good for sitting and eating as a snack.
Like a lot of things that disappoint, they found their way to the back of the vegetable crisper until I figured out what to do with them. Since I’ve been in pie mode lately, it seemed that the next pie was going to be CHERRY, in some incarnation.
As you all know, Jane can’t eat chocolate, but that doesn’t stop her from
wanting craving chocolate. Me, being the good son and all, I try to accommodate her as best as possible. For those of you that aren’t familiar, Watkin’s Flavorings makes an Imitation Chocolate Flavoring (made from yeast and other odd things) that comes pretty damned close to the real thing… as long as you don’t try to use it solo – as chocolate syrup… or pour on ice cream. But in with something else, you’d be hard pressed to know it wasn’t the real stuff.
So, I figure Chocolate Cherry Pie it’s going to be. And since it’s just going to be flavored, there wont be all that unsightly unpleasantness going on.
Plate Fodder Chocolate Cherry Pie
Makes 1 9″ Pie
For the Crust:
2 Cups AP Flour
3/4 Cups Lard (cold, cut into smallish chunks)
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
4 to 6 Tablespoons Cold Water
For the Filling:
3 Cups Bing Cherries – Stemmed, Pitted, and Split
3 Tablespoons Small Pearl Tapioca (also known as Minute or Instant Tapioca)
1/2 Cup Apple Juice
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/4 Teaspoons Watkin’s Imitation Chocolate Flavoring
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Cultured Butter (Regular butter works. We have to utilize cultured butter to deal with severe lactose intolerance issues.)
Tools of the Trade:
Large Mixing Bowl
9″ Shallow Pie Plate
To make the Crust:
Place the dry ingredients with in the processor with the lard bits, and pulse until it looks like sand. Add the ice water in small amounts until it forms a ball. Place in the zipper bag, push flat, and chill for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into half and roll out into 2 thin (something less that 1/4″) rounds and prepare the pie plate.
To make the Filling:
While the crust is chilling – In the large bowl, add all the filling ingredients except the butter – and mix well with a spatula. Cover and set aside until the pie crusts have been prepared. Pour the filling into the center of the pie plate and push around to evenly fill the plate. Top with dabs of the butter all over the top. Top with the second crust, crimp and flute the edges of the pie and poke holes across the top with a fork to vent the filling while it cooks.
Place on a cookie sheet to prevent overspills and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until completely chilled before serving.