i’ll still make pie

morello cherry galette | the merry gourmet

The children are back in school now, their backpacks filled with new spiral-bound notebooks, pencil cases holding sharpened No.2s, crumpled notes from the teacher and the PTA, a fluorescent yellow safety patrol sash (in my daughter’s), and Magic Tree House book #16 (in my son’s). There is minimal homework, for now, so we are spared at least that evening battle. This will change over the next week or two, but I am relishing the homework-free evenings while they last.

The cat ran away on Tuesday, expressing his disdain at being forced to become an outdoor kitty on Sunday. He spent 48 hours exploring the neighborhood, crawling through sewers, murdering lizards and birds, or whatever else outdoor cats do. He showed up at 6 o’clock on Friday morning, demanding to be loved on, to be fed, and to be let inside. We rewarded him with the loving and the food, but he’s to remain an outdoor cat as long as he prefers our dining room floor over the litter box.

This morning, Louie was gone again, but the kids (and the grown ups) are much less freaked out this time around. He came back before, so we believe he’ll come back again. He does enjoy the loving. And the food.

I’ve been eating to soothe my emotions over the past many months, but I made a commitment to myself about a week ago that I needed to CHILL THE CRAP OUT on the eating. That slice (or two) of deep-dish, meat-lovers pizza and that generous scoop (or two) of chocolate ice cream – or that glass (or two) of rosé – are not going to fill the void left by my father, relieve anxiety, or make that stressful day at work any easier. The entire family is jumping on this cleaner-eating bandwagon, too, so it’s much easier to do it together than to go it solo. After a week of no refined sugars, no high fat or high carb foods, more fresh fruits and vegetables, and more exercise (hello 5 am workouts!), I’m feeling pretty optimistic about where this is headed.

I anticipate that I’ll miss pie. Or rather, I’ll miss baking pie. So, because I’m not that radical – and because making piecrust is really, one of my absolute favorite kitchen activities – I’ll still make pie. I will be more generous in the sharing of said pie, however. Work colleagues: consider yourself warned.

This Morello cherry galette was one of the last pies that I baked, before heading out to the beach for a week, and before committing to less sugar and butter in my life. I’m always so envious of my Twitter and Facebook friends who share tweets and messages about their sour cherry haul in the summer. Their Instagram photos of the freshly-baked sour cherry pies on their beautiful counters nearly do me in.

I could just avoid social media. That would be no fun, though. Instead, I searched for a solution. The Google informed me that Trader Joe’s jarred Morello cherries are a good substitute for cherries when baking, and I trusted the Google on this. I have no idea if the Trader Joe’s cherries even come close to fresh-picked sour cherries when baked in a pie – I’m doubtful – but they certainly baked up wonderfully for me in this galette. Until I manage to get my hands on some fresh or frozen (or canned?) sour cherries, I’ll keep using the Trader Joe’s ones.

morello cherry galette | the merry gourmet

Morello Cherry Galette

In Florida, I don't have access to the famed sour cherries that my northeastern friends rave about. I do have access to a Trader Joe's, however, and I've read that Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries in Light Syrup are a close contender when it comes to baking with cherries. In this recipe, you'll need 3 cups of cherries, from one-and-a-half jars (24.7 ounce jar) of cherries.


Ingredients for All-Butter Crust:

3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2-1/4 sticks (18 tablespoons; 257 grams) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup ice

Ingredients for Galette:

3 cups Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries, drained
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
Pie dough for one 9-inch pie
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked together with 1 teaspoon water)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (such as Turbinado), for finishing


Make Pie Crust Dough:

Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cubes of butter and toss with the flour, coating the butter pieces with flour. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until pea-size pieces of butter remain.

Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the liquid to the flour mixture; mix together with a bench scraper, spatula, or your hands. Continue to add more of the ice water to the flour, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. If the dough is still crumbly with dry bits, add a little more ice water and continue to mix and bring together the dough into a ball.

Divide the dough in half, form each half into a flat disc, and wrap each well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 1 hour) before rolling.

NOTE: For the Galette recipe below, you will only need one of the discs; the other can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Make Galette:

Heat oven rack to 425 degrees, with oven rack in middle position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir together cherries, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice, salt, and granulated sugar in a large bowl until combined.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pie dough out into a roughly 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer the pastry round to the center of the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon the cherry filling into the center of the pastry, leaving a 1-1/2 inch border around the edge. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pinching the dough tightly together at the seams, while leaving the opening in the center. Chill in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. After the rest in the freezer, lightly brush pastry with the egg wash, then sprinkle the pastry with coarse sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until pastry is golden. Serve at room temperature.

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4 Responses to “i’ll still make pie”

  1. 1
    Kristen — August 24, 2014 @ 10:39 am

    3 years later I still find myself emotionally eating… Why do we believe that helps?
    Hugs and love and I love this pie!

  2. 2
    Liren — August 24, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

    How could anyone stay away – Louie would be a fool to not come back to the love and good food! He’s definitely living the good life…for a cat 🙂

    I hear you on the emotional eating – I find myself doing that every so often – and it must be curbed. My husband and I were just talking about how we need to rid the house of the excess sugar, especially with Halloween around the corner (it won’t be long). But there are some things you just have to make, and I would agree, pie is one of them.

    p.s. Love those TJ’s morello cherries!

  3. 3
    Paula — September 1, 2014 @ 8:26 am

    With dessert like this being brought to them, your friends and colleagues are going to enjoy you being on this clean-eating bandwagon. I wish you and your family all this best with it and really admire that you are swearing off the sugars, high fats and carbs for awhile. You’re a better & stronger woman that I and that’s the truth!

  4. 4
    Lucy — September 3, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

    Beautiful pie…I will have to try those Trader Joe’s cherries. I’m so envious of your galette’s prettiness. I’ve been working on a peach and blackberry galette all summer and just cannot get it where I want it. All the juice keeps seeping out all over my parchment. Still tastes good but not very pretty. So more pie/galette baking is in store for me. Good luck with the early morning workouts 🙂

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