Friday Pie-Day {Classic Cherry}

Is there a more quintessentially summer treat than Classic Cherry Pie?  Given that cherries are only in season for a few short weeks in late May and early June, perhaps not.  I have enjoyed my share of cherry pies that were made from canned ingredients with jello-like fillings.  But if the pre-packaged version of cherry pie is the extent of your experience, then you need to give the real deal a try.

Today I will walk you through how to make a latticed-top cherry pie worth every bit of time and effort.  When this mouthwatering creation comes out of the oven, the little ruby-red orbs are bursting with sweet cherry flavor, and the thick syrupy juices hold hints of vanilla, almond, and lemon.  All of this mouthwatering deliciousness is contained between two layers of flaky pastry goodness and is enough to make a grown man cry.  Maybe someone you know would enjoy the gift of Classic Cherry Pie this year for Father’s Day?  Just a suggestion.  Let’t get started…

First gather your ingredients.

You will need 2 pounds of whole unpitted dark sweet cherries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla extract, almond extract, fresh lemon juice, and unsalted butter.  You will also need one batch of Perfect Pie Crust dough or 2 name-brand refrigerated pie crust dough rounds.

Did you notice this  tool in the bottom left-hand corner?

This is a cherry and olive pitter.  It’s the kind of tool that I only use once or twice a year, but it really makes light work of pitting all the cherries.  You absolutely do not have to have one to make cherry pie.  Instead, you can use a knife to slice open the cherries and remove the pits by hand.  But, I wanted you to know the tool exists, and if you see yourself making a lot of cherry pies, you might want to consider adding this little guy to your kitchen tool kit.  There are several available.  Click {here}, {here}, and {here} to shop around.

Regardless of how you decide to do it, pitting cherries is a messy job.  Wear an apron, remove the pits in the kitchen sink, and prepare to have slightly purple fingertips for the rest of the day.  Also be prepared to exercise enormous amounts of self-control while pitting, or save yourself the grief and buy some extra cherries to compensate for all the juicy jewels that are guaranteed to end up in your mouth.

Once the cherries are pitted, combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl.

This is what it will look like after everything is mixed together.  Isn’t the color beautiful?  Set this mixture aside while you move on to the crust.

Line the pie dish with one round of pie dough.

Add the filling to the pie dish, making sure you scrape out all the lovely juices and sugary residue from the bottom of the bowl.

Dot the filling with butter and stash it in the fridge while you prepare the lattice strips.

Roll out the second pie dough round.  For some reason my second pie dough round ended up looking a bit like the continent of Australia.  When this happens, you just have to go with it and make the best of it.

Cut it into ten 3/4-inch strips using a knife or a pizza cutter.

Place five of the strips across the top of the filling.  Now, this is where is gets interesting, and worth noting that I have not made a lattice-toped pie in two years.  I’m a little rusty, but we’ll figure it out together.  You want to create a woven lattice, but you want to do so without stretching or pulling the strips.  You are going to lift every other strip in an  alternating pattern as you lay new strips down.  Perhaps it is easier to show you than to tell you…

This is half-way through the lattice-weaving process.  Notice three of the strips are pulled back…

…then I lay a new strip across…

…replace the three strips that were pulled back…

…pull back the other two strips, and lay a new strip across.  Continue this pattern until the entire pie is covered.

It is easiest to start in the middle and work out to one side and then repeat the process on the other side.

Once your lattice is complete, trim off the excess, tuck the bottom dough over the top, and crimp to seal.  Freeze the pie for 20 minutes.  This will ensure that your strips stay nice and tidy during the baking process.  While the pie freezes, preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper to catch any juices that might bubble over.

Remove the pie from the freezer, brush the lattice with egg wash, and sprinkle liberally with sugar.  Bake the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet until the center is bubbling and the crust is golden, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

I wish I didn’t have to tell you about the next part, but I do.  It feels like high-maintenance pie babysitting to me.  After about 1 hour 15 minutes, you need to check the edges of your pie crust for over-browning.  Because of the extended baking time needed to fully cook the filling, there is a risk of burning the crust edges along the way.  To avoid this you will probably need to wrap the edges of your crust with strips of aluminum foil.  {Funny story.  Norah asked me yesterday, “What’s a lumen of oil?” I had no idea what she was talking about…until Annie and Jake chimed in with, “No, Norah.  It’s called aluminum foil, not a lumen of oil!”}

Take four pieces of foil…

…fold them into narrow strips…

…and wrap your precious baby pie crust in a foil blanket so she doesn’t overcook and end up getting burned.  What a beating.  I don’t know why I hate this step so much, but I do.  But…what do I hate even more than wrapping my pie crust edges in foil?  Burned pie crust edges.  So I cater to the super-needy pie crust and meet all of her pesky demands so that she will in turn behave like a good little pie and hopefully give me this in return…

TAH-DAH!!  Classic.  Cherry.  Pie.

Isn’t she so pretty?  I mean, it is only the fear of first degree burns on the roof of my mouth that keeps me from diving in with my fork the second I remove this amazing pie from the oven.  Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack, and let it cool completely before serving with ice cream.  The filling of this pie, when completely cool, holds its shape impressively well.  When you slice into this beauty, there may be a tiny bit of scooping involved, so have a spoon ready.  Real homemade fruit pies usually don’t yield perfectly triangular wedges, but this one comes close.  Now, don’t be disappointed when your slice is is sloppy with wet fruit and dripping juices.  Just close your eyes and take a bite…suddenly picture-perfect pie slices seem not to matter a bit.  In fact, I predict there will be a fair share of forgoing the plates all together once you have a bite.  Just go for it.

If you get a hankering for this pie during the ten months when cherries are not in season, or if you just don’t want to bother with fresh cherries, you can use frozen cherries and end up with a pie that is almost as good as one made with from fresh cherries.  You will need five to six cups of frozen cherries.  Make sure you thaw the cherries completely and make sure you drain them thoroughly.  Otherwise, you will have soggy watery filling.  Yuck.

One final word.  I want to be very up front about the source of this recipe.  I combined and adapted two cherry pie recipes that I have used before and developed {on my own} the recipe I am presenting to you today.  I don’t know if this means I can claim the recipe as my own creation or if I need to continue to give credit to the two recipes I used for inspiration.  But my intent is to err on the side of disclosure and legality and I have no interest in taking credit for something that is technically not mine.  So, that being said, my recipe for Classic Cherry Pie is inspired and adapted from Martha Stewart Living {Classic Cherry Pie with a Butter Crust} and Bon Appetit {Classic Sour Cherry Pie with Lattice Top} using Ina Garten’s recipe for Perfect Pie Crust.  Martha, please don’t sue me.

Click below for a printable version of the recipes from today’s post.

{Classic Cherry Pie}

{Perfect Pie Crust}

Happy Cherry Pie-Day…let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

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2 Responses to Friday Pie-Day {Classic Cherry}

  1. Sarah Wolfe says:

    What about Friday Pie-Day open house? Pie tasting? :)
    Looks delicious! All of them.

  2. janina walker says:

    this brings me such peace at the end of a day…just to remember the simple pleasures in life! Thanks so much. And Annie said she was going to make a small pie of her own? Want to know about how to do this?

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