Fourth of July Macarons and Cherry Pie

Fourth of July Macarons and Cherry Pie

Cherry pie.  Fine, that’s summery and American.  But macarons?

We were somewhat inspired this fourth by an early wedding present from Frank’s amazing Aunt…

A Kitchenaid!  And not just a kitchenaid, but a beautiful pistachio-colored one.  As soon as we opened it, my mind was buzzing with what to make for the fourth (which was, fyi, the following day).  I immediately thought of macarons, as I had never really been able to whip egg whites very well with my hand mixer.  Yup.  Macarons it was.  Simple ones, plain with some vanilla buttercream sandwiched inside…red and blue cookies with a white filling… somehow this all seemed rational and doable the day before, but the actual process was a little more stressful…

Don’t get me wrong, those macarons tasted AMAZING.  But they’re one of those things that you really need to practice at making a few times before you try them out for others.  Here are a few things that didn’t go quite well:
-I made my own almond flour in the food processor, but I wasn’t aware of how FINE it actually had to be.  The whole pulverizing/sifting process took an hour and a half.  Yup.  It was intense…
-When piping the batter onto cookie sheets (it tasted REALLY GOOD, by the way), I couldn’t find the right pastry bag tip, so I used to small of one, so I had to really WORK at piping these babies out, and the batter discs were very flat, and the batter as a result was pretty over-worked…
-I only have one silpat.  For my second baking sheet (the blue macarons) I used wax paper as a liner instead.  That was the biggest mistake of all time!  All of the macarons stuck to the wax paper and we couldn’t peel it off!  BUT, as a side note, you really can’t taste wax paper when the macarons are filled.  FYI… sneaky…
-It was the hottest day of all time (actually, today is hotter), and the vanilla buttercream, although delicious, didn’t solidify as much as I had hoped…

But you know what?  Everybody loved them and they were cute as heck.  I’m not going to write the recipe out, but I used Tartlette’s, which is basically right here (except omit the pulverized strawberries in the batter… or add them–see if I care!), including the vanilla bean butter cream.  Despite all the drama with these macarons, I really do recommend that you try your hand at making them.  They provide an opportunity to try out a lot of new skills in the kitchen and they actually are really fun to make!

AND, the cherry pie!  I whipped up the dough for this baby using the Kitchenaid, just to see how it would go (expecting it to be tough), but it really was perfect.  This was also my first attempt at making a sour cherry pie completely from scratch.  I made a sweet cherry pie for Frank’s birthday last year, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  It was pretty amazing, so I decided to go back to Deb for a recipe for sour cherries.  The resulting pie was absolutely beautiful, and CRAZY RUNNY.  The runniest pie in existence.  Cherry soup in a crust.  But luckily it tasted amazing, and no one minded spooning it onto their plates.  Don’t blame Deb, though, it was my fault and I’ll explain why in the recipe below…

Sour Cherry Pie
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 recipe of pie crust (I like to use this, but you can use any crust as long as you have enough for a top and bottom)
2 1/4 pounds sour cherries, pitted, thawed if frozen*
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract

Cherry pies are so easy!  Roll out half of your pie crust and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and almond extract and pour them into the pie crust.  Taste it–it will be pretty tart, and if that’s okay with you (it should be!), you’re fine.  But make sure to taste to make sure the sugar is enough for you–if not, add more!  Roll out the rest of the pie crust.  You may choose to do a lattice crust, but I cut out star shapes (for the 4th of July!) and attached them to each other on top of the pie with egg wash (one egg with a splash of water).  A plain crust on top is fine, but you have to make sure to vent it.  Crimp the pie crust edges and place on a baking sheet.  Bake the pie for 30-45 minutes.  Mine took a lot longer, about an hour.  You want the crust to brown, but you will probably have to cover the edges with aluminum foil so they don’t burn.

*This is why the cake was runny, everybody.  I bought a bunch of beautiful frozen sour cherries, and the package said not to thaw them before putting them in a pie.  Well, of course I did as I was told (even though Deb told me not to), and the frozen berries let off too much water while baked and made the filling too liquidy.  THAW the cherries!

3 Comments to “ Fourth of July Macarons and Cherry Pie ”

  1. emil says: Reply

    Ah ha! The mystery of the extra liquid in the cherry pie is solved! By letting the cherries thaw you could control the amount of liquid and get the proper ratio of cornstarch to liquid. It was delicious anyway and I’m going to try frozen cherries instead of canned the next time I make cherry pie. FYI you can also use tapioca instead of cornstarch to “thicken” the juice in cherry pie.

  2. emil says: Reply
  3. Daisy says: Reply

    I’m glad that the Kitchenaid inspired you to try some things, and I enjoyed reading about both the macarons and the cherry pie. Maybe one of these days your blog will actually inspire me to do more cooking. Actually, though, Chip is more likely to be the one trying out your recipes!

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