Red is the colour of Summer Harvest – Southern Belle Cherry Pies

It dawned on me today that this time of the year yes you have the green gooseberries and the white elderflowers but an abundance of the fruit that is ready now is Red.

Rhubarb, strawberries, rasberries, red currants, even red gooseberries…

This has led me to the conclusion that I must do a series of posts over the next month about red fruit.

I start with the cherry – Seeing as how yesterday my sister in law text us telling us to get round to hers then and there, not because she was having the baby we are all waiting to meet, but because her cherry tree was ripe for the picking!

We now have 2 cherry trees but this year had only 1 cherry…so we were thrilled to receive the text and hot footed it round to snaffle the freebees.

Their tree is quite a large, old one so we were able to get plenty just off the low handing branches.
Cherries can be expensive in the shops and even at the market I have paid a pretty penny so if you know of a tree, not on someones land unless you have their permission, then wait until they are ripe and go wild. As with most fruits you can eat them fresh or freeze them if you plan to cook with them.

There are different varieties and I have found that the ones bought at the shop seem bigger than these ones harvested but as long as they are a deep red when picked and slightly soft then they should be ripe. Try one and if its hard or tastes weird then come back in a week or two until ready.

So what did we do with all our freebees?

Deep South or Southern Belle Cherry Pies of course!

Deep South Cherry Pie

In this instance I had already made some pastry and frozen it so out of the freezer it came the night before to thaw. If you want to cheat and buy ready rolled sweet shortcrust pastry the do the same but if you want to start from scratch then here is how you do it.

To make 12 mini pies:

For the pastry:
Put 175g of plain flour and 30g caster sugar into a large bowl, add 85g butter and rub the mixture together to make breadcrumbs. To bind the pastry add approx. 2 tbsp cold water and with a knife draw it together. Use your hands to bring it all into a ball of dough and then chill in the fridge, or freeze if making on another day.

When ready flour the work surface and a rolling pin.
Role the dough out to a few millimetres thick and use a round cutter to cut out circles big enough to fill a cupcake baking tray. Place in the tray and cut out smaller circles ready for the lids.
In the photo there are no lids, it can be done either way.

For the filling:
Take about 200g cherries, slice them all in half, twist to release the one side, scoop out the stone from the other side and discard.
Put the cherry pieces into a mixing bowl and add 1 tsp cornflour, 1.5 tbsp caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp group cinnamon.
Mix all together, then spoon into the pastry.

Put the lid on with a milk wash, milk wash or egg wash the top and sprinkle some sugar on.

Cook on 180C for about 15 minutes and when ready leave to cool on a wire rack.

These are yummy little pies and need eating within a couple of days if you like them crisp as they start to soften up the longer they are left. Still very nice heated up and served with cream!

I really like the simpleness of this recipe and think it would also make a great crumble or 1 big pie.

These will keep me going but I have a whole load more cherries in the fridge so what to do.

I will freeze some, half them and de-stone.

Others well, my boyfriend Richard has recently bought a book about how to make your own drinks and cherry-aid is one suggestion so I will keep you posted if this gets made.

Next blog I am sure will be about something else Red so stay tuned and see what it is!

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