Old-Fashioned Cherry Pie with Lavender

18 Jul

This July I am celebrating eight years of marriage to a pretty fantastic guy.  I won’t go on and on about him here (as he embarrasses easily!), but suffice to say when the marriage fairy was handing out husbands, I got a prince.  Truly.

Paris, April 2009

He also likes to cook.  But, being married to a woman who is fanatical about cooking, he doesn’t get a lot of time in the kitchen.  Or if he does try to cook something, I am usually full of  “helpful” hints that only muck up the process.  And so, over the years, I have become the cook and he has become the dishwasher.  He loves to eat good food, and so doesn’t complain about the demotion, and I love to cook but hate to clean up afterward.  We are a good team.

Lately, he has been taking on more sous chef tasks which he completes with alacrity.  We make our pasta from scratch and he has become the pasta dough master.  Really, his is better than mine and always ends up in nice, silky strands.  It is now his official kitchen job, and I am actually enjoying handing some tasks over to him.

A few years ago, we stopped by Blue Mountain Lavender Farm on our way to a wine weekend in Walla Walla.  They have a lovely property there inspired  by the rolling lavender hills in Provence.  We fell in love, of course, and brought many things back with us, including a great little cookbook and lots of culinary lavender.  I use both of them all the time.

I really love to pair lavender with any fruit.  Right now cherries are bursting forth at the market and I came across a recipe in the Lavender Cookbook that sounded perfect.  I handed the book to husband (with only one or two little “tips”) and sat back and relaxed while he made this pie.  He is just as good with pie dough as he is with pasta dough (I had a feeling that would be the case), and the pie turned out perfectly.

Old-Fashioned Cherry Pie with Lavender
From The Lavender Cookbook

1 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapoica
1 tbs dried lavender, finely ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 cups frozen or fresh cherries (you’ll need about 2 pounds of fresh)
2 tbs vanilla
1 tbs lavender sugar (recipe follows)

Prepare the pie dough (recipe follows) and refrigerate for one hour.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, tapioca, lavender, salt and cinnamon.

Place cherries in  large saucepan and stir over med-high heat for 5 minutes, or until slightly softened.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer cherries to a large bowl.  Add the sugar mixture to the cherry juices in the pan and simmer, stirring, for 3-5 minutes or until thickened.  Pour over the cherries.  Add the vanilla and stir to mix.  Let cool.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into an 11-inch round.  Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang.  Pour in the filling, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill.

Roll the remaining dough into an 11-inch round and use a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel to cut into 1-inch wide strips.  Working on a sheet of parchment paper set on a baking sheet, weave the pastry strips in a close lattice pattern.  Refrigerate or freeze the lattice for 20 minutes, or until firm.

Brush the edges of the filled shell with cold water and slide the lattice off the parchment and onto the pie.  Let stand for 10 minutes to soften the lattice.  Trim the edges flush with the rim of the pie plate and crimp decoratively.  Gently brush the lattice top with cold water and sprinkle with lavender sugar.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling bubbles.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve warm.

Lavender dough

Lavender Pie Dough
From The Lavender Cookbook

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs dried lavender, finely ground
1 tsp salt
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup shortening, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, lavender, and salt.  Pulse to mix.  Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Do not overprocess.  Add the water and pulse until the dough starts to clump; if the dough is not clumping, add water 1 tsp at a time.  Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for one hour.  (Note: we make our dough by hand with a pastry cutter, and you could do the same with two forks.)

Lavender Sugar
From The Lavender Cookbook

1 tbs dried lavender
2 cups sugar

In a spice grinder or with mortar and pestle, grind the lavender with 1 tbs of sugar until finely ground.  Transfer to a bowl and add remaining sugar.  Transfer to a jar, seal tightly, and let stand for at least three days before using.  (Note: lavender sugar is great in making fresh lemonade or to sweeten iced tea. Try it on the rim of cocktails for something extra special. )

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4 Responses to “Old-Fashioned Cherry Pie with Lavender”

  1. Antoinette Baranov July 19, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    What a beautiful recipe, cherries in season can’t wait to try it! Lavender grows all around my house. Like to put in fresh tomatoe sauces for fish stews or w/prawns squeeze of orane as well. Oh!I’m giving you all my secrets but you’re so generous with yours!Thanks. Atoinette Baranov

  2. deeba July 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Got to you from Antonio’s Table. Am very intrigued with the idea of lavender in the dough. The pairing with cherries makes it sound delicious!

  3. Amrita July 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Ooh, how refreshing the pie dough sounds! I’m currenlty on a mission to find the perfect pâte sucrée crust and I have to give this a try…thanks for sharing!

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