There are some things in life you have to try at least once. The short list includes, but is not limited to, riding a bike, bomb pops on a hot day, sneaking out of the house after curfew, skinny-dipping, and, of course, making Katy Perry's cherry pie. Yes, Katy Perry just released a recipe for cherry pie and obviously I needed to make it immediately. Because hello, it's Katy Perry's cherry pie.
So pop that confetti and bring out the Pérignon because I set out to see if this recipe could be my teenage dream tonight! Was it the eye of the tiger? Here are my thoughts.
So, Why Does Katy Perry Have a Pie Recipe, Anyway?
In case you haven't picked up the latest copy of Teen Beat or flipped through the latest on the entertainment blogs, Katy Perry teased new album, titled Bon Appetit, which has aptly come with a recipe for cherry pie.
It's a fun marketing gimmick that leaves fans all ooey-gooey over the salacious lyrics that are laced into the songs. Plus, is there anyone who doesn't really love a good pie recipe? In the recipe you'll find ingredients like "mouth-watering butter" or instructions that tell you to "seductively" weave your lattice. I'll leave that to you to interpret.
A Brief Note on the Recipe Before I Embark on My Journey
One of the hardest things you can do as someone who knows their way around the pitfalls of a recipe is to make something exactly as it's written when you know an alteration of the ingredients or process could prevent such things. This recipe was exactly that. At every turn, I found myself with a squinty eye and a snarled lip as I had to remind myself to make it without deviation.
At first glance, it seems like a sweet, sticky, and delicious twist to the modern press release about an album. If you're doing more than glancing, however, hold onto your bloomers.
This recipe has zero mention of salt. Anywhere. It isn't listed in the crust or in the filling. And although I'm all for using great ingredients, I can use all the organic butter and cherries I want, but if there isn't salt in there to make them sing, then what's the point?
Prepping the Pie Dough
By instruction, I am told to massage the mouth-watering butter (ew) into the flour until it resembles sand while adding the ice water in at the end. Then you're supposed to chill it and roll it out to use.
Now, let's assume for a minute that you subscribe to the school of all the butter in a crust (I personally do not; all hail Alton Brown). I don't know many bakers out there who don't suggest chilling or freezing your butter before cutting it into the flour. Why? Because it melts in your fingers and melted butter isn't flaky butter and makes for a soggy crust. But I did as I was told.
Wait, I mean, I almost did as I was told. The dough simply did not hold together when pressed. It just didn't. So I added an additional two tablespoons of water. This might simply be that my flour is more humid than Katy's flour — after all, we didn't measure it by weight but did so by measuring cup instead. I then divided the dough, wrapped it, and chilled it.
Making the Cherry Filling
Next up is the filling. While our dough is in the chill chest we're told to use a 12-inch skillet with more mouth-watering butter, cherries, and a cornstarch slurry. And by slurry, I mean the recipe calls for a wack-a-doo combination of cornstarch and water. The exact line from the recipe is:
Stir together cornstarch (3 tablespoons) and water (2 tablespoons) until a thick paste forms.
You — in the back — can you guess what will happen when this "paste" is added to the cherry mixture in our skillet? I mean pretend for a moment that those ingredients in that quantity make "a paste" and not "a goo that turns to rock when removed from the bowl it's combined in." Any takers? What will happen? Chunks. Chunks happen. Floating island, iceberg chunks of cornstarch will happen. Why? Because there isn't enough liquid to dissolve that amount of cornstarch without it seizing when it hits the heat. But I followed the instructions.
It's OK, Katy is amazing at everything else she does (except that whole left shark thing), so she doesn't have to be good at the pie too. I mean that would just be unfair. But I do expect the person who works for her that wrote this to not waste 30 minutes of my time picking out cornstarch islands that I knew were going to happen. If you're reading this, I will happily accept those 30 minutes back in the form of a massage. Please and thank you.
I pulled the mixture immediately from the heat once the cornstarch seized and although you would think that the mixture would be too soupy without all that starch mixed in, it wasn't. I didn't cook it down for the remaining two minutes as the recipe said and finished fishing out the lumps.
Making a "Seductive" Lattice
I let the cherry mixture set as I rolled the dough out for the crust. Even with the extra water added, the crust was still a little dry for my personal tastes and crumbled a bit more than I was comfortable with. I rolled out the larger of the two discs for the bottom crust and still had several holes that needed to be patched and the sides came up a wee bit short. Lesson learned: Don't divide the dough equally. Problem solved.
I popped the pie tin back in the fridge while I worked on the top crust. Now, this is where things get extra dirty as we're instructed to "seductively weave our lattice." I had a small amount leftover and I used it to run around the edge to form a better outer crust and then to garnish with a cherry (because Katy Perry.)
My First Glimpse at the Final Product
Now it was oven time. Fingers were crossed, prayers were said and in it went. The directions don't mention any sort of egg or milk wash, sugar sprinkle, or foil cover around the edges of the crust. When it came out of the oven I let it rest overnight.
Sleep tight, Katy Perry pie, sleep tight.
When I awoke the pie looked like it had the night before. Not horrible, but not amazing. It would pass at the church potluck or a dinner with friends. This is of course based on looks — that's the part that really matters, right? Like a song, as long as you get the hook stuck in their head, they'll never know the rest of the words aren't so great.
This pie was no different than the latest pop song. It was tolerable from a distance, but had apparent flaws once cut into. That said, even a bad pop song can be catchy and listened to time and again.
The Final Results
The resting overnight of the pie was a huge help. Although the recipe stated a mere one-and-a-half to two hours of cooling time, I had not fished out cornstarch just to have it be too liquidy, as most berry pies benefit greatly from a complete overnight rest so their juices can thicken.
The filling was set, gooey in the right way after the extended rest, and tart, as quality frozen berries had been used. Would a pinch of salt have helped? Yup. The good news is there were no cornstarch icebergs in sight and no soupy mess in the bottom of the pan.
The crust would have benefitted from an alternate method of cutting in the butter. If the butter had been frozen first and then run through a food processor so it kept its texture it would have had a more even flaky texture that really only arose on the outer edges. It also would have helped it release from the pie pan easily. It wasn't the best crust, but it wasn't the worst ever. It did, however, need salt to avoid its cardboard-esque taste.
To help I turned to the refrigerator and made a little salted whipped cream. That was enough to save the filling, but not enough to ignore the lack of taste in the crust. Did I eat the entire piece? Why yes I did — I mean come on, it's breakfast pie. Who wouldn't?