This gorgeous pie came from Darlene in San Francisco:

My boyfriend’s favorite pie was Key-Lime, up until the day I made him one a couple years ago.  After he saw what ingredients went into it, I don’t think he ever ate another slice.  So this summer I am experimenting with healthier, less-fattening berry pies.  Conveniently for me, Good Food is also focusing on pies, so I’m all the more motivated to participate.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to try making a cherry pie, my first time ever.  I purchased an Oxo cherry pitter from Bed Bath & Beyond and got a recipe from  We went to a hippie San Francisco market that sold only wheat flour, so I figured we could use that instead of the all-purpose.  This turned out to be mistake #1 — I should have looked up a recipe specifically geared towards wheat flour at this point, and adjusted accordingly.  Next on the shopping list was “instant tapioca”, but the only tapioca I found in the store was “small” or “large”, so I picked out a box of the small variety.

I set to work pitting the cherries carefully, then mixed it up with the tapioca and the rest of the filling ingredients.  My boyfriend helped me make the dough, which ended up with an extra egg in it since the wheat flour didn’t stick together that well.

I decided to try making a lattice-top crust, as I had seen with other pie recipes.  This was a bit tricky to maneuver, since the wheat dough was too stiff to bend and weave properly.

When the pie came out, the tapioca never thickened.  In fact, some of the granules of tapioca never cooked at all, which I believe was due to a combination of mistakes #2 and #3.  Mistake #2 was not using truly “instant” tapioca which, as it turns out, is a completely different from small granules of tapioca.  Mistake #3 was making the lattice-top crust — I suspect that with a plain-top crust, the granules of tapioca would have had a better chance of cooking.

The pie wound up resembling a cobbler, since the wheat crust turned out to be crumbly, and the filling was more like a flavored pile of cooked cherries.  But we ate it anyway, swallowing the granules of tapioca along the way.  We’ve learned a lot from this attempt, and luckily still had some “pie” to enjoy in the end.  Hopefully other readers will also learn something from our novice baking experience.

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