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Prize pie baker shares tips

Toni Layouns pecan pie tops at WL Farmers Market pie competition


by: STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - This is one of the contenders in the West Linn Farmers' Market pie baking competition.

I totally missed cherry season.

Oh, I’ve purchased a couple of pounds from the market but I missed out on purchasing large quantities to use in salads, salsas and, of course, pies.

According to my brother, Tom, who has a couple cherry trees on his farm, the season was early and fast. You can bet I’ll pay more attention to the cherry crop next season.

Not having cherries to bake pies is truly upsetting. There is nothing prettier than a rosy lattice-topped cherry pie.

I guess I might have to be satisfied with pecan pie. It seemed to work out OK for West Linn resident Toni Layoun. She won the pie baking competition at the West Linn Farmers Market last week with her pecan pie.

“My favorite pie is apple and my daughter likes pumpkin,” Layoun said when we talked by telephone after the competition. “My father-in-law’s favorite is pecan.”

Layoun’s neighbor, who is involved with the market and knew Layoun was a baker, brought her an entry form and encouraged her to enter. The rules required that pies be made completely from scratch, which she said caused her some concern.

“It had been years since I made a scratch crust. Pillsbury does such a nice job (with their ready prepared crusts),” she said. But Layoun persevered. The day of the competition she got up early and gathered her ingredients.

“I made sure that the water was ice cold,” she said. “I took a cup of ice and filled it with water and used the ice cold water. I also am a big fan of Crisco and used Gold Medal flour and a little salt. I don’t have a pastry blender so I used a whisk as a pastry blender.”

Obviously the results were delicious. Layoun said her success came from following reliable recipes from her Better Homes and Garden cookbook and using quality ingredients.

It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Layoun preferred not to share her recipe and I assured her that was OK; I still have a craving for cherry pie anyway.

Today I share my go-to cherry pie recipe. If you can’t find fresh cherries you have permission to use canned or frozen. And if you are intimidated by making the crust, give yourself a break and take a tip from first prize pie baker Toni Layoun, who often relies on Pillsbury to make the crust.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Classic Sour Cherry Pie

with Lattice Crust

Makes 8 servings

You’ve never had a cherry pie this good — an incredible sour cherry filling, a light and flaky crust, and vanilla ice cream to top it all off. If you can’t find sour cherries, use sweet cherries and add a little extra lemon juice instead.

Crust:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

5 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Filling:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if using sour cherries) or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (if using dark sweet cherries)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon (about) milk

Vanilla ice cream

For crust:

Whisk flour, sugar and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a ball, then flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead.) Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

For filling:

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice and vanilla; set aside.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut 10 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream

Adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2008

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




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