Recipes Inspired by Musicals: Annie Get Your Gun

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Sunday, my mom and I attended a Mother’s Day cabaret at my church.  It was put on by four amazing musicians – our senior minister’s son Andrew (who has just released a CD), two of our church soloists, Brenna and Mark, and another friend, Calla. 

They sang a wonderful variety of music, from gospel (“Chariot’s Comin’ ”) to opera (“O Mio Babbino Caro”) and jazz (“Fly Me to the Moon”).   The whole program was wonderful, but the highlight for me was “Anything You Can Do, I Can do Better” from Annie Get Your Gun

I first saw this musical with my family when I was a teenager, in the Huron Country Playhouse.  Plays were performed in a barn, with no air-conditioning, and it was always a hot night.  The gaps between the boards let in the humid air off Lake Huron.  But once the show started we forgot the surroundings and were drawn into the story.  All these years later, I remember the standout feature of the show being the competitive relationship between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler:

“Anything you can do, I can do better;
I can do anything better than you.”

Last Sunday, Brenna and Mark did a wonderful job with their alternating one-upmanship in this song:

“I can jump a hurdle – I can wear a girdle.
I can knit a sweater – I can fill it better.
I can do most anything.
Can you bake a pie? – No –  Neither can I.”

Alas, I am like Annie Oakley and Frank Butler in this one respect: I can’t really bake a pie.

So that was my challenge for this week.  To complete those song lyrics with an emphatic “Yes!  I can bake a pie!”  And only a cherry pie would do.

The most daunting part was supposed to be making the pastry.  That’s what usually intimidates me about pies.  But that part was actually a success – the pastry was easy to work with and rolled out nicely.  The issues came with everything else.

The first problem: there was obviously too much juice in the recipe.  I didn’t add all the liquid, and the pie still overflowed onto the cookie sheet underneath it in the oven.  Next time I’d add no more than 2/3 cup of cherry juice, and maybe less.

The second problem was the lattice.  The recipe told me to assemble the lattice elsewhere, then move it as a whole onto the top of the pie.  I had my doubts, but followed the directions exactly.  As I feared, the lattice drooped partway through the exchange, landing in a tangled heap on top of the pie.  I untangled the cherry-soaked threads and lay them back in the best semblance of array I could muster.

And the third problem was the cooking time, but this was a problem of my own making.  As usual, I was trying to do 15 things at once.  Unfortunately, #14 was out of the house.  I set the timer at my best guess, put my oldest daughter in charge, and went out to a school meeting.  She pulled the pie out of the oven exactly when I asked (and subsequently scrubbed the cookie sheet) but by that time the pastry was much too dark.

So – anything I can do, you can probably do better?

Not entirely.  Despite these problems (and the fourth, which was photographing the pie so the blackened crust didn’t completely dominate), it was delicious. 

So, anything I can do, I WILL do better.  Next time!

The Best Cherry Pie
(adapted from Cuisine magazine)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
10 – 12 Tbsp ice water


6 cups frozen cherries, thawed
2/3 cup cherry juice, reserved from cherries
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract
kosher salt

Lattice topping

1/4 cup half and half
3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar and kosher salt in a large bowl.  Cut in unsalted butter and shortening with a pastry blender, until they are the size of peanuts.  Stir in ice water 3 – 4 Tbsp at a time (dough shouldn’t be sticky).  Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes before using. 

On lightly floured surface, roll half the dough into a 12” circle about 1/8” thick.  Transfer to a 9” pie plate.

For filling, combine thawed cherries, juice, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, almond extract and salt.  Fill the chilled pie shell.

Weave the remaining dough into a decorative lattice on top of the pie.  Lightly brush the lattice with half and half; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake pie on a baking sheet (to catch overflow) for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 20 – 30 more minutes, until filing is thickened and bubbly.  (Cover with foil if it’s browning too quickly.)  Cool before serving.


Belinda said...

All's well that ends well...looks like it turned out just the way it was supposed to!!

Becki's Whole Life said...

One of the best tasting cakes I ever mad fell apart when it came out of the bundt pan:-). Your pie looks like it tastes wonderful and you would have never noticed any burnt crust if you didn't mention it - but it does make for a great story! I love all of those songs. O Mio Bambino Cara is one of my favorites - I play it on the piano. How fun that you church did all of the different songs.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I can't make a pie either. At least you're trying. I just go to the store and get a perfectly made one by someone else. Definitely the crust would be my hard part.

Anonymous said...

I saw Annie Get You Gun on Broadway with Bernadette Peters. It is a GREAT play. Don't be so quick to say that we can probably do better on this one. While cherry pie is my favourite pie, my one and only attempt turned out too runny. I would have a slice of yours in a heartbeat. Enjoy the long weekend Beth -- the weather has been spectacular so far! (which is why I'm a little behind on my commenting....)

Neesie said...

It all looks mighty fine to me Beth! :D
You've just reminded me that I haven't made a pie since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I'll have to remedy that ~ Yes sir!

Love the fact that you're daughter scrubbed the baking sheet ~ what a darlin'
Sorry all my 'Annie get your Gun' expressions just keep slipping in...
I'll be seeing you...Good Day ;D

Valerie Gamine said...

Pies are supposed to look rustic and quirky. (I'd be suspicious of a clean-cut, evenly-golden pie.)

I think your pie looks perfect. Can you also knit a sweater? :D

From the Kitchen said...

American pie pastry is my downfall. I can easily do the French style but not delicious and flaky down home pastry. I think your pie looks delicious!


Carol said...

You can bake a pie! Better than I :) Looks delicious! One of my favorite shows.

Beth said...

Valerie, I can't knit a sweater, although, if requested, I could probably cross-stitch one!

And thanks for everyone's kind remarks about the appearance of this pie. Trust me, it looks much better in the photo than it did in real life.

sally said...

My husband would love this pie! I'll have to bookmark it.

Claudia said...

Perfect for the season. (I prefer a darker crust) and as for baking - "anything you can do I cannot be better" - just can't bake as well as you. But oh do you inspire! And that's one really grand daughter you have!

Anonymous said...

What delicious looking pie. Twin Peaks worthy!

Gloria Baker said...

I love this Beth look perfect!!

Bonnie said...

Beth, I love to both bake and eat pies. The only pie I have a lot of problems with is pecan. I think your pie looks absolutely delicious. Bonnie

Beth said...

You're right, Claudia. She's a sweetie!

Barbara said...

I LOVE that song, Beth! It always makes me smile. Your pie looks fabulous....a little darkened crust doesn't bother me and I can barely see it tasted delicious.

Joanne said...

Even pie with a slightly burnt crust is still delicious! That's really the beauty of it. Practice makes perfect and this looks like a delicious attempt!

erica said...

I have not made a pie in forever. Looks like I need to make this one over the weekend! Thanks for sharing. xo

grace said...

had you not explained the problems you encountered, i never would've known just from looking at that slab of deliciousness. bravo!

Kayte said...

That pie looks plenty good to me...I would love to have a piece of this, it looks so delicious!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Pies can be a challenge if you don't make them frequently. I think the best pie dough I've found is in Julia Child's The Way to Cook - her Pâte Brisée recipe (which is pretty similar to your recipe). For me, making the dough in the food processor solves most of my problems - the mixing is easy, the rolling out is the only problem. But, as you pointed out, there are other challenges! And despite them, your pie turned out well. Good post - I always enjoy your "musical" ones!

Anonymous said...

This pie is such an inspiration - comes from an awesome background and has such fabulous flavours :D

Choc Chip Uru

Sue said...

I'll say you can bake a pie! It looks wonderful, Beth!

julie said...

Despite all the challenges, this pie still looks amazing! I'm not sure why they told you to put the lattice together ahead of time. You were right to be concerned. I actually have a video on how to lattice a pie if you ever give it another go. Once you catch the hang of it, you'll be a pro. :)

Mary said...

This sounds delicious, blackened crust and all.

Rita said...

Your pie does looks perfect for me; tasty juicy and sweet. I know what you are talking about making too many things at the same time...I hate to tell you Beth, but it doesn't get any better.

CJ - Food Stories said...

I love that you persevered ... It looks fabulous!

Jemi Fraser said...

Looks yummy! I used to make pastry - but recently I've just decided to buy the frozen shells - so much easier - although not as tasty!

Jess said...

Sounds delicious! It's sad to say, but I'm intimidated by lattice work on pies. Annie Get Your Gun sounds fun~ I've never seen it, but of course I've heard the song :)

Anonymous said...

All I can say is... Yummo!

Elaine said...

A little blackened crust doesn't hurt anyone. I think your pie looks juicy and delicious. And it looks like your crust turned out nicely despite the mishap. It does seem rather odd that the recipe had you make the lattice somewhere else rather than close to the pie to make it easier to assemble. You did a great job and I'd say that you definitely can make a great pie.

Katerina said...

Pastry sheet was intimidating me for years Beth! Now I have made peace with it and I am just fine. Your pie looks mouthwatering and any small misfortunes I am sure they didn't affect the final result!

Unknown said...

Baking a good cherry pie is a goal I can relate to and so worth the troubles you might encounter along the way. I love the way music inspires your baking, you must always carry a tune in your head ;-)

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter how it looks as long as it tastes good, and it does look tasty.

nancy at good food matters said...

a perfect pie takes practice, before it becomes "easy as pie." With your next attempt, your pie will look as good as I am sure it tastes--

Anonymous said...

Hooray! You made a pie!! I know you've been avoiding pie pastry, so I'm glad to see that you did it. Each pie gets easier...I promise. BTW--that song always makes me smile because it was the first one I ever sang (with my best friend) in front of an audience. "Can you bake a pie?" "No." "Well neither can I."

Angie's Recipes said...

The cherry pie looks droolworhty, Beth. The crust looks perfect to me.

Cathleen said...

The crust looks beautiful! I would dig into this right away. The pie would be done by the end of the day ;)

Anonymous said...

Cherry pie and the 4th of July...that is what I think of when someone mentions cherries. Your pie sounds terrific.

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