There are very few things I've avoided cooking in my life. Cherry pie is one of them. I'm definitely not a canned filling kind of person, frozen cherries just never seem sweet enough, and I cannot stand single-purpose kitchen gadgets like, say, cherry-pitters. The combination of those three factors has, until now, left me cherry pie-less.
But wait: why have I been so unfair to the innocent cherry pitter?
Well, those days are over. My feelings changed dramatically on our trip to Italy last month when I encountered a wild cherry trip up the road from where we were staying and I was faced with kilos of cherries and one dull paring knife.
The hunt for a cherry pitter began and ended rather quickly in a cookware shop near the stadium parking lot in Siena. Overjoyed, I bought my new gadget for 8 Euro (about $11 US). It's quite similar to the Leifheit Cherry Pitter available from Amazon below.
Sure, it took about 45 minutes to pit enough cherries for one pie, but with good conversation and a glass of wine, the time passes quickly. It's the Italian way.
Cherry pitters will also pit an olive. Do you know any other uses for cherry pitters?
Here are three recommended cherry pitters:
OXO Cherry Pitter: (left) I've tried this one a few times. It works perfectly. I'm not a huge fan of the removable splatter shield (too much gadget!) but at least it comes off. ($13, Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma)
Leifheit Pro Pro-Line Cherry Pitter: (center) This is the most basic design: heavy-weight, chrome-plated, locks (so as not to tangle your already tangled gadget-drawer) and effective. Getting the rhythm down took a few rounds, but eventually I was able to knock out about one cherry per second. ($10.95, Amazon.com)
Old Fashioned Cherry Pitter: (right) For "restaurant-style high speed and volume" but not picture-perfect cherries, this clamp-on pitter — from one of my favorite catalogs ever — is for you if you are a serial cherry pie-ist and want to put $73 toward the problem. I've seen this in action on an Amish farm and it definitely gets the job done. ($72.95, Lehman's Non-Electric Catalog)
Related: No Cherry Pitter? Use a Pastry Tip