Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tart Cherry Pie

It's that time again, time to start picking our tart cherries for my personal favorite, tart cherry pie.  This year the cherries are ripe almost a full month ahead of last year.  Granted this year I wanted to avoid the worm debacle so I decided to pick when the cherries were a little less ripe. 
We planted the tree 3 years ago, and the next year got loads of tart cherries and made 2 great pies.  Last year at the end of June, I waited until the cherries were bursting.  We picked and brought them into the house and began the tedious process of hand pitting.  (I can't bring myself to purchase a cherry pitter for the one or two days a year I would use it.) At one point I looked into the bowl and noted something wriggling.  It turns my stomach to write it, but yes, it was a small worm.  I furiously split open and inspected every cherry and every cherry had one.  

To the internet for a search!  I found that it is a fruit fly maggot.  I called my husband revolted, and he insisted he didn't care, he would eat it anyway.   The lengths men will go to to prove their virility! I was horrified to think we probably ate the worm infected cherries the previous year.
I called two of my friends who both assured me that had never had a worm in their cherries.  By the end of the week I had been to both their houses, splint open their cherries and showed them their worms.   I didn't want to be alone in this mess.  They were both shocked and realized they had probably been making pies with wormy cherries all along.  
I didn't mind letting the birds have some of the cherries, but I certainly wasn't going to let them have them all.  I read on-line that if you pick early enough you will miss it's natural life-cycle of the horrid fruit fly.  
So that was what we were doing at 7:30 this morning, and indeed, though almost every single cherry had a small tell-tale indent, (you can see them on the first photo) none has an actual worm.

I used a recipe from food network that calls for 2 cups of tart cherries which you cook on the stove top until most of the fluid is evaporated.  Then you add the cup of sugar and yes corn starch. I hate the idea of corn starch, but the filling tasted fabulous!  I again used Martha's pate brisee pie crust recipe. 
tart cherry pie wth he cherry tree in background

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