In this monthly series, I commit to cooking whatever is on the cover of Bon Appetit, Saveur or maybe some other food magazine. There’s a reason these particular dishes are on the cover – they’re usually (but not this month!) the best recipes in the magazine.
The cover of the June issue of Bon Appetit had a big ol’ cherry pie on the front. I am obsessed with fresh cherries – they usually don’t make it into any baked goods, because I’ve been known to demolish a 3 pound box of them in a few days, using only my mouth. I decided to give baking with cherries a whirl this month, and the results were disastrous. Basically, the filling was completely liquid, like a cherry soup surrounded by crust. Help me figure out what went wrong, won’t you?
Here are some deviations I made from the original recipe, as published in Bon Appetit:
- I used store-bought, refrigerated pie crust instead of making their homemade version, because I’m pie crust lazy.
- I used sweet cherries instead of the sour cherries that were called for, because that was what was available to me.
- I increased the amount of lime zest, because I was intrigued by adding lime flavor to a cherry pie, and figured that even more lime flavor would be even better.
- I don’t like baked fruit pies, and rarely make them or eat them. Usually, one slice of apple pie on Thanksgiving is my limit. So, I’m definitely not what you would call “well versed” in the pie making arena. Still, I had planned to give my Dad a few pieces of this pie for his 60th birthday, so I went for it anyway.
- This pie was not baked with love. I started way too late in the evening, the cherries took forever to pit, and I had to stay up far past my bedtime to wait for this sucker to bake.
- I used a Pi plate instead of a standard, boring pie dish. Maybe the mathematics gods were angry.
- Baking time: The Bon Appetit recipe called for a minimum of 80 minutes baking time, and a maximum of 90, or until “crust is deep golden brown.” My crust was what I would consider deep golden brown after 72 minutes, so I pulled it.
- Oven temperature: My oven is accurate to within 5 degrees, as I have an oven thermometer I place in there to test it with occasionally.
Of these factors, I believe that store-bought crust, increased lime zest, not liking pie, using a Pi plate and oven temperature were non-issues in the filling not thickening properly. Not being baked with love could have been a minor factor, as I know from experience that food made when you’re in a bad mood never turns out as well as food made when you’re happy to be in the kitchen.
I believe the biggest variable was that I used sweet cherries instead of sour cherries. Knowing that my cherries would be sweeter than what was called for, I *thought* about decreasing the sugar in the recipe, but decided to use the amount called for, even if that meant a too-sweet pie, for fear of the filling not thickening enough with decreased sugar. I’m wondering if sweet cherries are just much, much juicier than sweet?
I’m also wondering if I had baked this pie longer, would the filling have thickened? Perhaps, but I honestly can’t see an extra 8 or 18 minutes of baking time making that big of a difference. All fruit pies seem liquidy when you pull them out of the oven, but then they firm up as they cool. It seems impossible to know how much a pie will firm up.
Where do YOU think I went wrong here? Don’t be shy! I’d love to hear your thought as to why this pie was an epic failure.
Note: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people make a recipe they see online, but with changes and substitutions, and then leave a negative review on it, anyway. So this is NOT a negative review of Bon Appetit’s recipe. I flat-out didn’t follow the instructions, and used sweet cherries instead of sour. I have nobody to blame but myself.