Cherry-Mascarpone Lattice-Top Pie

I bought cherries when they were on sale at the grocery store last week and they were REALLY needing to get used yesterday so I made Tristan a pie. This lattice-top is messier than I’d like but it was very warm in my kitchen and my pie dough did not want to cooperate in the final minutes before baking. I wasn’t going to blog it, but it got pretty rave reviews from everyone (including my very choosy co-worker Kath) so I decided that maybe this little Frankenstein pie should be shared with the world. I used a filling recipe from of my favorite cookbooks – Pie by Ken Haedrich – a crust recipe from Shauna Sever over at Piece of Cake – and a few tweaks of my own.

When making the blueberry roulade for last week’s FFWD, I neglected to read the amount of mascarpone needed before I went to the grocery store so I just thought “Better make sure I have enough” and bought two containers. Now I need to use it. So this was my first experiment. I rolled out the bottom crust and got it situated in the pie pan, then I spread a thin layer of the mascarpone all over the bottom of the crust before I added the cherry filling – yummy cheese surprise!

Don’t you just love Instagram? This is 4 1/2 cups of pitted sweet cherries just waiting to be mixed with some cherry schnapps, lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla. Yum! So I got this book from my dad, Baking Illustrated, by the people over at Cooks Illustrated and I was looking in there for a way to use up these cherries. Did you know they think cherry pies with fresh cherries are no bueno?? I think they are on crack sometimes. Why would I use canned cherries (no matter which fancy variety they are) when fresh cherries are in season and beautiful and delicious? Opinion fail Baking Illustrated. So that’s why I made this into kind of a mishmash. I couldn’t find a recipe for how I wanted this to be.

1 recipe for double crust pie dough (and since we’re doing a lattice there will be enough left over for another small single crust pie – yippee!)

about 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

4 1/2 cups fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted

1/3 cup plus 3 T sugar

3 T cherry schnapps

2 t fresh lemon juice

1/4 t vanilla extract

2 T cornstarch

milk for brushing the crust

coarse sugar for sprinkling

Mix together the cherries, 1/3 cup sugar, schnapps, lemon juice, and vanilla in a large bowl and leave to juice for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. During this time, roll out the bottom crust and fit it into the pan. Spread the whole bottom of the crust with a thin layer of the mascarpone.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and the remaining 3 T of sugar. When the cherries have been hanging out for 15 minutes, mix the cornstarch/sugar into them and dump that beautiful mess into the bottom crust. Make sure to press down a bit so that the top is as flat as a bunch of round fruits can be. This will help the lattice lay flat and look prettier.

Now it’s time to make the lattice. Roll out the top crust and cut relatively even (try!) strips from the dough using a pastry cutter, pizza cutter, or just a knife if need be. Now create the lattice – you can do actual weaving or just lay the strips on top of one another. Either way looks pretty, but if you weave it you can be smug and self-satisfied feeling like you did something semi-difficult. ha! Attaching the strips to the bottom crust has always been a bit of a struggle for me. Do it however you think is best. Usually I just trim them to right inside the crust and let them kind of float on the top. This time I tried to attach them and don’t know how well it worked out. Whatever works for you I guess. Then trim and crimp the bottom crust according to your taste. Some people like to do the fork tines thing, I prefer the thumb crimp.

Now pour a little milk into a bowl and use a pastry brush to wet the lattice strips and crust then sprinkle with a liberal amount of coarse sugar. So pretty and sparkly! Bake for about and hour until the juices start to bubble thickly. Put a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil on the shelf underneath the pie to catch drippies and rotate the pie halfway through baking. Check to see if the crust is getting a little too brown on the top after it’s been in for about 40 minutes, if it is, use either a crust protector or fashion some sort of ring out of aluminum foil to protect the crust from over-browning. Brown is good, blackened is not ideal.

Give this a shot if you’ve got some cherries to use up – we really enjoyed it!

French Fridays with Dorie – Blueberry-Mascarpone Roulade

Let’s get something straight – I was very afraid to make this recipe. The directions seemed eerily similar to my last kitchen failure. No leavener, lots of whipping, lots of folding. Pretty much sounds like my nightmare. But I left work at 4 today, ran over to the store to get blueberries and marcarpone and got ready to rock this bitch! I figured if I showed great enthusiasm and positivity there was no way I would end up with a horrible brick-like thing this time. The blueberry step was relatively painless so I was feeling pretty good. Then it was time for the scary stuff. The egg whites whipped up beautifully and since the directions said they should be “quite firm” I really made sure to get them to that point. I was pretty impressed with how they totally kept their shape when I plopped them into the bowl with the egg yolks

After this simple step, the real fun began – the endless folding. I tried to be very Zen and calm while folding. Plus I thought about how ridiculously mad I was at myself over the genoise failure and really, really tried. I used my biggest, fanciest spatula and I think I did okay.

I spread it on my baking sheet and got it as level as I could:

There were no scary bubbles or anything but I was pretty timid about spreading it out. I was afraid of pressing down too hard and deflating it so some parts of it are a little thicker but oh well – it was my first sponge. Can we talk about how that’s a disgusting name for a cake? Sponge cake….sponge cake. The more I say it, the grosser it sounds. It makes me think of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is very upset about not being able to find her favorite method of birth control

I know this is not a picture of Elaine looking for her sponges but I will literally use any excuse to bring up the Elaine dance. In fact my cousins and I talked about it several times this last weekend. Anyway, back to this cake roll. After only about 9 minutes in the oven it looked how Dorie said it should (puffed & lightly golden) so I took it out and began the slightly scary process of flipping it onto the sugared towel. Only resulted in one burn.

I thought the directions were a little confusing when it came to the whole cake in the towel thing but after consulting Bek, I think I made the right decision. Here’s my little cooling cake roll:

Kind of unattractive huh? Looks much better when unrolled and spread with a mixture of mascarpone, blueberries, and whipped cream, doesn’t it?

Then I very carefully rolled it back into my very sugary towel (she said to be generous, right?? I used like a whole 1/3 cup!) and put it to bed in the fridge for about 4 hours. When we got home from our night on the town I took it out and tried to get a decent photo. It’s kind of hard to get a pretty shot of a log, don’t you think? I tried though.

These are actually the end pieces. I didn’t even cut into the pretty part of the roll. This is a really big dessert, y’all.

Tristan and I shared the end pieces and the first thing he said was “tastes like a cream puff.” I heartily agree. I hope that’s how it’s supposed to taste. I would say it was a success because this is what we had by the end

Yum! I wouldn’t say this is my favorite dessert just from a texture standpoint but I did really like the flavor. What did the rest of the Doristas think?