Eat Your Heart Out

When Cheryl Mochau stopped by our office for the November/December Evansville Living cover photo shoot — which included four pies from her personal chef company Cheryl Really Cooks! — we couldn’t help but do a bit of “taste testing.” Needless to say, only crust remnants remained by the time the Tucker Publishing Group staff was done with them. After including her crusty leaf pumpkin pie recipe in the issue’s feature story “Thanks and Giving” (Page 43), we asked Mochau to provide us with a few more of her tasty creations. Eat your heart out this holiday season!

Lattice Crust Cherry Pie
(Makes one double crust 9-inch pie)

Egg wash:
• 1 Egg
• 2 Tablespoons of cold water

• 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
• 1 Tablespoon of cold water
• 4 Cups of pitted cherries
• 3/4 Cup of sugar
• 1/2 Cup of water
• 1 Tablespoon of butter
• 1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, cut in the fat with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small peas. Add the vinegar and then the water a little at a time until the dough forms a ball (but is not sticky). Divide the dough in two and roll one half to fit a 9-inch deep pie pan, set aside. Trim any excess dough, reserve for the lattice top. To make the lattice crust, roll the remaining dough ball on a floured board to 1 quarter-inch thick. Cut uniform strips of pastry dough each about 1 half-inch wide. Place 6 of the longest dough strips on a sheet of waxed paper. Weave 6 more long strips into them, using a cross over and cross under pattern. Fill out the edges with shorter strips and trim within 1 half-inch of the size of the top of the pan. Mix the egg and water in a small cup. Using a pastry brush, “paint” the crust all over with the egg wash. To keep the crust fresh while preparing the filling, cover with another sheet of waxed paper, set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To prepare the filling, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water, stir and place in the refrigerator to keep chilled. Place the cherries, sugar, and water in a saucepan, bring to boil, reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Taste for sweetness, adjust sugar. Mix in the chilled cornstarch mixture, stir well to thicken, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla.

Pour the cherry mixture into the crust-lined pie pan. Using the waxed paper as a guide, carefully pick up the lattice top and place it over the cherries. Tuck and seal the edges, taking care to brush more egg wash on as needed. Pinch to secure the lattice top to the bottom crust at the rim. Brush with another light coating of the egg wash before placing in the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Pecan Pie (Makes one 9-inch pie)
• 1 Cup of all-purpose flour
• 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
• 1/3 Cup of butter or shortening
• 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons of cold water

• 3 Eggs, slightly beaten
• 1 Cup of sugar
• 1 Cup of light corn syrup
• 2 Tablespoons of melted butter
• 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1 and 1/4 Cups of pecan halves

Combine the flour, salt, and fat in a large mixing bowl, blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the vinegar and half the water, mix, and add more water, if needed, to form a moist ball. To line the pie pan with the crust, sprinkle a clean work surface with about a quarter cup of flour, place the ball of dough on the surface and roll out flat to a thickness of 1 quarter-inch and 3 inches larger than the pie pan. Place the crust in a 9-inch pan and trim the edges of excess dough. Tuck the crust under at the plate rim and pinch the edges to form a decorative crust. Put the prepared pie pan on a larger baking sheet, set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the filling, combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Fold in the pecans then pour the mixture into the pie shell. Using a fork, arrange each pecan to face pretty side up. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before cutting.

Pear-Orange-Honey Mini Pies (Makes 4 mini pies or one 9-inch pie)
• 1 Cup of all-purpose flour
• 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
• 1 Tablespoon of sugar
• 1/2 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
• 1/3 Cup of coconut oil
• 2-3 Tablespoons of cold water

• 1 Tablespoon of cold water
• 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
• 2 Bartlett pears
• 1 Cup of drained Mandarin oranges
• 2 Tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
• 1 Cup of orange juice
• 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1/2 Cup of honey
• 2 Teaspoons of decorative sugar crystals

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If using pans with fluted edges, lightly coat the inside edges of 4 mini pie pans with vegetable cooking spray, place on a baking sheet, and set aside. To make the dough, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl, add the oil, and blend until the mixture resembles small peas. Add water, a little at a time, and blend with a pastry cutter until it forms a ball. Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll out on a floured board until each circle of dough fits each mini pan. Place the dough in each pan, trim the edges with a knife, and place it back on the baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

To make the filling, combine the cold water and cornstarch in a small cup, place in the refrigerator to keep chilled. Peel the pears, cut in half, and remove the cores. Cut the pear halves very thin. Melt the fat in a skillet and place intact in the skillet with the oranges. Cover, cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. In a small bowl, blend the orange juice and vanilla and pour the mixture into the skillet. Bring to a gentle boil for 1 minute. Using a wire whip, stir in the chilled cornstarch and water mixture until the juice is thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Place the cooked fruit in a decorative pattern in each pan. Glaze the fruit with the sauce. Sprinkle with the decorative sugar crystals. Let the pies set up at room temperature before cutting.

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