The big winner of this year’s South Side Pie Challenge, held October 9 at Nichols Park, was Amanda Houser, who won the laurels for her “Cherry Crumble”.
Houser, a perennial powerhouse in the Hyde Park pastry scene, had already won the competition in 2019 with a “Pitch-Perfect Key Lime Pie”. She shared the recipe for her latest effort with the Herald.
I discovered this recipe at the height of the pandemic. I have struggled to make a flaky crust in the past. Like most everyone, I was looking for ways to distract myself during my forties. The crust technique is called Pate Brisee and is the easiest and most efficient way to make a pie crust.
200 grams of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg yolk at room temperature
30 grams of whole milk
130 grams of unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
120 grams of cake flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ginger
40 grams of light brown sugar
40 grams of fine sugar
60 grams of unsalted butter
800 grams of sweet black cherries (it is better to freeze them and let them thaw completely)
30 grams of cornstarch
100 grams of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
First cut the butter and set aside. Combine the milk and egg yolk in a bowl and set aside. In a blender fitted with a paddle, combine the flour, salt and sugar for 20 seconds over low heat. For the next 45 seconds, add the slices of butter one at a time. Add the mixture of milk and eggs; leave to mix for 30 seconds. The dough should be a shaggy mess – it is very important not to over mix. Discard on a clean surface. Gather the dough. Use the palm of your hand to press and push the dough away from you – this creates streaks of butter in the dough and a flaky crust. Form a disc wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Liberally pour the flour onto a surface then take the dough out of the refrigerator. Roll it out into an 11-inch circle. Place in the pie bowl. Make sure the dough is hanging 1/2 inch from the container. Repair all the holes. Take a fork and make holes all over the dough. Wrap and refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a baking sheet on crust and fill to top with uncooked rice or beans. Bake blind for 35-45 minutes. Turn halfway. To know it’s done, lift a baking sheet filled with rice or beans and the dough should be golden in color.
For the crumble: Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. To melt the butter. Pour the butter over the crumble. Mix until small balls form with your hands. Bake on a baking sheet at 350 F for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.
For the Topping: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely combined.
Take the filling and pour it into a blind baked pie shell and cover with crumble. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour, turning halfway through cooking. When baking is complete, cut the crust.
Let cool and enjoy.