Upon baking my very first cherry pie (the little one, pictured above), I got very excited and sent the photo to a friend saying, “This is the most American thing I’ve ever done.” And then, because I still can’t leave well enough alone, I immediately started dreaming up how I’d change it. Sorry, USA. But, hey, I added chocolate. So, not sorry?
I’ve thought a lot about pie crust. And I want all of our pies to have lovely, crisp bottom crusts. Could I give that as a blessing for a baby, if I were a fairy? “And may your pie crusts always stay crisp!” But seriously, all that work to perfect a flaky crust — let’s try to protect it from the wet fruit filling.
The answer, I found, like the answer to many things, is chocolate. In addition to an egg wash, these bottom crusts get brushed with a thin layer of ganache, which has the dual honors in this recipe of being chocolate and being structurally useful. You go, chocolate ganache!
Cherry Chocolate Pie
For the crust:
1 double crust (I like this recipe)
For the ganache:
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 to 4 cups of cherries, pitted (or frozen)
1 or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
First, prepare the bottom crust:
Roll out one of the crusts onto a pie pan, returning the other crust to the refrigerator for the time being. Blind bake, covered with foil and pie weights/dried beans for 15 minutes. While crust is baking, beat the egg in a small bowl.
Remove the crust from the oven, removing the foil and pie weights, and brush with egg. (You can save the rest of the beaten egg to brush the top crust, later.) Return to oven, uncovered, for one or two minutes, just to let the egg set. This will help the bottom crust remain crisp when the pie is filled.
Allow the pie crust to cool. Place the baked pie crust in the refrigerator or freezer to chill.
Then, make the ganache:
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the cream and chocolate. Stir slowly until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth. Use a spoon to spread the ganache in a thin, even layer over the chilled, baked pie crust. The ganache layer (aside from being delicious chocolate) also helps keep the bottom crust crisp. Pop the pie pan back in the refrigerator (or freezer) to allow the ganache to set. Your baked and ganache-d bottom crust can be prepared up to a day in advance of assembling the rest of the pie.
Assemble the pie:
If not already hot, preheat oven to 400˚F.
Combine cherries, sugar (use if cherries are not at peak sweetness), lemon juice, and tapioca in a bowl. Let the filling sit for a few minutes.
Roll out the top crust, cutting into eight 1-inch strips. Place the strips in the refrigerator to allow them to return to a cool temperature.
Dump the cherry filling into the prepped bottom crust with ganache.
Working quickly, weave the strips on top of the pie, 4 going each direction. Use your fingers to crimp or otherwise attach the strips to the sides of the pie.
Brush generously with the remaining beaten egg.
Bake for 45 minutes or so, until the top of the pie is browned and the filling is bubbling aggressively. If the pie is browning too quickly, lightly cover with a foil tent. I’ve found that the edges of the pie, in particular, may need to be covered with foil to avoid browning too much.
Allow the pie to cool to room temperature, and cut and serve.