16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie

I bet you thought I abandoned this project. You’d be wrong–I just started a few others and let this one get a bit dusty. After almost 5 years, I’m still plugging along, and will be until I finish this damn thing. I don’t even know when I cooked this, but here’s 16-17: Meringue-Topped Cherry Pie.

I know I cooked it sometime in 2018, and I know that I wanted to attempt a vegan version (which didn’t go well). I think I was making it to bring to work, but I have a feeling it never made it there. Looking over the pictures of it, I think I know why.

The low-fat 1980s strikes again–check out the suggestion in the TIPS box. Yes please, I know I want a less tender pie–said no one ever. If you’re eating pie, make it right. If you want to count calories, just eat a smaller piece of the better pie. Don’t pig out on bad pie–life’s too short for that.

Ingredients. When are cherries in season? I think in the summer. That’s probably when I made this pie. I remember buying two bags because they were cheap–hence the thought to attempt a vegan version (vegan meringue can be made with aquafaba, but I have to admit–I’ve never actually tried it).

Melting butter–clearly this wasn’t the vegan version.

Combined the butter with the sugar and flour.

Here’s a dough ball. I don’t have much more to say beyond that.

Set up a cherry-pitting station on the other side of the sink for my sous-chef. There’s some funky tool I bought as part of a set from IKEA that works great for this (the first one on the left, I think it’s an apple corer), but a real cherry pitter is a thing that also exists. I don’t like one-use tools, and I definitely don’t like ones that take up as much space as a cherry pitter, so I’ll stick with my $5 IKEA set.

I’m not looking for red-stained hands, so I’ll bust out the food service gloves for working with these cherries. If you buy gloves for stuff like this, make sure they’re not the powdered medical type–no one wants that stuff in their food.

1.25 lbs of cherries, just as requested.

Mixing in the cornstarch and vanilla extract–this will turn these cherries into pie filling.

Still looks grainy–it’ll look better once it cooks.

Crimping the tart sides by hand. Easiest way is to do what I’ve shown here–two thumbs pushing just slightly past each other.

Looks nice so far. I can make a decent crust, I’ve at least got that part down.

Filling looks good. I should have stopped here, maybe just put a couple of dough cutouts on top. But, this is a meringue pie, so we must press on. I put a Silpat underneath the pie pan to stop slippage and catch any overflow.

Making the meringue (with egg whites, not aquafaba). Having a cold, clean mixing bowl is essential for good meringue.

Mix until stiff peaks–this is just about there, but needs a bit more to really get that sheen going. Too much and it’ll break, so don’t go crazy.

Cherry pie portion baked, and it looks great. Now to ruin it with some meringue.

You can see some of the spillage on the left side there. That’s why it’s important to always put a pan under a pie–if nothing else, it makes it easier to wrestle out of the oven after baking.

Topped with meringue and baked. Looks okay so far, but meringue tends to weep/slip…

…which it did. Suggestions for remedying this include anchoring the meringue (spreading it so it touches the crust) and making sure to put the meringue on when the filling is hot (less condensation). You can see I attempted to anchor it, but apparently didn’t use enough to do so.

After removing a few pieces. Now I remember! I had made this for 4th of July I think and tried to put it onto my cake carrier for transport. It blorped all over the carrier, and started to look like a murder scene before it had even left the house. We decided to scrap the plan (and the vegan version) and ended up eating a good portion of it ourselves at home. Oh well.

Grade: B-