I think I had a little too much fun making this!
This pie not only looks creepy on the outside, but the inside was also carefully designed to be just as unbelievably weird, yet incredibly delicious as well!
The ratio of cherries and blackberries gives the finished filling a deep blood-red color. Roughly chopping the fruit before using it for the filling ensures that it is less fruit-like and more... um, innards-like.
Adding a handful of sliced almonds adds an interesting textural crunch that will have you wondering if this pie really could be a human head!
This pie is actually really good: the perfect balance of tart and sweet, and bursting with berry flavor and a hint of almond. The filling is set, but not firm, and not excessively runny.
Plus, it doesn't even take that much more time than it takes to make a non-human-head pie!
Torching the finished pie to add a burned look isn't completely necessary, so if you don't have a torch- that's okay, you can still make this! Torching it does seem to add an extra hint of, "wow, what happened to that guy?!" though!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients + Equipment
Make sure you have all the ingredients, but keep the pie crust in the fridge until it is called for in the recipe directions.
For one 9-inch pie you will need:
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
7 Tbs cornstarch
4 cups frozen tart red cherries, pitted
2 cups frozen blackberries
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 pre-made, refrigerated pie crusts
You will also need:
measuring cups and spoons
a large mixing bowl
9-inch pie pan
parchment paper or foil
large baking pan
culinary torch (optional)
Step 2: Make the Filling
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. In a bowl combine the (3/4 cup) granulated white sugar, (1/2 cup) brown sugar, and (7 Tbs) cornstarch; stir together until well-combined.
3. Allow the fruit to sit out for five minutes in order to soften just a little bit. Working with one cup at a time, pour the berries onto a cutting board and roughly chop them with a sharp kitchen knife- aim to chop each berry into 2-4 pieces (we don't want to completely pulverize them). Keep chopping until you've worked through all the berries.
Add them to the bowl with the dry mixture as they are chopped.
4. Next, add in the sliced almonds along with the vanilla and almond extracts. Stir and fold the mixture until all the berries are evenly coated and mixed with the dry ingredients; set aside.
Step 3: Roll Out the Crust
While I certainly enjoy a homemade crust, I find that store-bough crust has a smooth-ness that more accurately resembles skin. So, there's that...
1. Remove one pie crust from the fridge, and unroll it into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan, making sure it makes contact with the pan all the way around the bottom and up the sides.
2. Cut off most of the extra crust that is hanging up and over the sides of the pan, leaving about 1/4-inch above the pie pan. And save those dough scraps!
3. Fold in the remaining 1/4-inch of pie dough so that the top of the dough is about flush with the top of the pan. Place the pan in the fridge to chill the dough.
Step 4: Make the Nose
This is likely the most difficult part of building the face... (but it really isn't that hard to do!)
1. Take about one tablespoon of the dough scraps and squish it with your fingers until it is all one uniform piece, and then form it into a log about 1.5-inches long.
2. Gently pinch the top half of the log with one hand, while pushing up the bottom of the log with the other hand until the log starts to form into a triangle/nose shape.
3. Next, use the tip of your finger to make two indentations in the bottom of the nose for the nostrils.
4. Place the nose on plate and into the freezer to cool.
Step 5: Assemble the Pie
1. By now the berry filling mixture should have released some of its juices. Use a spoon to remove about two teaspoons of the juice and set it aside- you'll use it later to "decorate" the top crust.
2. Remove the pie pan from the fridge and place it onto a foil or parchment-lined baking pan (the pan will catch any drips that happen during baking, so they don't burn on the bottom of your oven!).
3. Pour all of the pie filling into the dough-lined pie pan and use a spatula to smooth it out.
4. Remove the second pie crust from the fridge and unroll it out on the top of the pie.
5. Use a sharp knife to trim the crust down, so that there is just a slight gap between the top edge of the bottom crust and the edge of the top crust. This gap will allow the "guts" of the pie to show through.
Step 6: Add the Face + Bake
1. Remove your dough nose from the freezer and place it in the middle of the top pie crust.
2. Use a sharp knife to cut out a four to five-inch tapering slit for the mouth. Next cut two oval-shaped circles out for the eyes. You can take creative liberty here and make the eyes and mouth whatever shape you'd like.
3. Lastly, take the reserved berry liquid and use your finger "paint" it around the eye and mouth holes, and the nostrils.
4. Place the pie (still on the baking pan) into the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until turning golden on the top, and the filling is oozing out the sides.
Step 7: Add the Final Touches
When the pie comes out of the oven it will be hot and bubbly. It is likely that the filling will have oozed out some places more than others.
1. Using two butter knives or a knife and toothpick, and while the pie is still hot, carefully take filling from the places on the edges where there is a lot, and transfer some of it to the places where there is less- try to even it all out so there is a layer of oozy red berry flesh all around the face.
2. (Optional) Lastly, break out the torch. A small, creme brule torch is best and allows for the most control, but a larger workshop-type torch will also be fine. If using the larger torch, you may want to bring the pie outside for safety reasons. Start the torch and carefully scorch the edges of the eye holes and mouth until it reaches your desired doneness.
3. Allow the pie to cool for at least one hour before serving. Serve and creep out all of your family and friends!