You guys know me: always putting slightly odd ingredients in sweet, baked dishes. Sometimes it is by mistake (i.e. the chili powder that accidentally replaced the cinnamon in an apple pie — though that was a happy accident as it was really good) and sometimes intentional (pepper and bitters in strawberry pie the other day; also really good). This time I thought I would do another “intentional experiment”: red wine and Chinese 5-spice powder in cherry pie. While there is some dispute about what is even in five spice powder (some mixtures have anise, cinnamon, star nnise, cloves, and ginger while others replace the ginger with Sichuan peppercorns or fennel. And then there are other 5-spice mixtures what have all of those, which would actually make it 7 spice mix, but who’s counting?!?). And the red wine of course goes great with the cherries. So, another happy experiment.
I’m not sure this is tremendously “summery” really. I guess this strikes me more as an autumn pie, but cherries are harder to come by then, but you could always used jarred cherries, I suppose.
for the pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water
for the filling
2 pounds Bing cherries, pitted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chinese five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn starch, mixed with 3 tablespoons red wine (I used pinot noir)
1 egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg was
Turbinado or Demerara (raw) sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
You will also need a 9 inch cast iron skillet (although using the ingredients, you could also make a traditional pie) or two 6 inch cast iron skillets. Pictured is one of the two 6″ pies that I made.)
Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening and cut in using purses until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball, divide, then flatten into 2 disk (If making one large pie, do not divide; just make one disk). Wrap in plastic; chill 2 hours.
In the meantime, combine pitted cherries, brown sugar, 5-spice powder, salt and wine-and-cornstarch slurry in a large bowl. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray pan (or pans) with baking spray. Roll dough to approximately 3 inches larger than your pan and trim to a rough circle. Line pan with dough and dock a few times with a fork, letting the excess hang over the sides. Fill with the cherry filling. Fold remaining dough over the filing, leaving a remaining part open. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Place on a baking sheet (depending on the cherries, this might be a very juicy pie and you don’t want to make a mess of your oven). Bake for 45 minutes, or until the visible crust is golden brown and the pie filling is bubbly. Let cool for a minimum of 45 minutes before serving.