My mother never made pies. Her mother never made pies. With the help of my pie loving father I overcame this genetic disadvantage and taught myself how to tackle a crust and deal with fruit fillings. Yet, to date I had never attempted a cherry pie. Canned cherry pie filling with its viscous corn syrup sweetened cherries makes me want to run for the nearest apple and never look back. However, when beautiful bright red sour cherries appeared at our farmer’s market last week the thought of a fresh cherry pie with homemade vanilla ice cream was just too tempting to resist.
As I waited to purchase my cherries, Mr. B suggested that I try one to see if it really was a sour cherry. Never having tasted sour cherries before I cheerfully popped one into my mouth while he watched with a twinkle in his eye. Twang! My lips puckered like a blowfish and my eyebrows shot straight up. Those were definitely sour cherries! Mr. B laughed as I gave him a dirty look and assured me that they would make a delicious pie.
Once home, Mr. B redeemed himself by using a cherry pitter to painstakingly pit 5 cups of cherries while I made an all butter crust. Following a basic recipe from Bon Appétit, we created a classic lattice crust cherry pie. An open lattice top helps promote the evaporation of liquid from fresh fruit pies that are prone to be runny. I opted for arrowroot instead of cornstarch as a thickener, and it gave the pie a clear red filling which was nothing short of beautiful.
Accompanied by a Philadelphia style vanilla ice cream (recipe courtesy of the Perfect Scoop), this was a marvelous pie. The cherries maintained a fresh tart flavor which stood in stark contrast to any canned pie filling I’ve tasted. A flaky butter crust added an almost savory richness to the dessert. When the vanilla ice cream began to melt and mingle with the pie filling the dessert achieved a sublime level of summer flavor. The pie was such a hit that our entire dinner party capped off the meal by unabashedly picking up their plates and licking them clean! This is a cherry pie that truly deserves to be called classic.
This post is part of the Summer Fest cross-blog celebration. For other summer stone fruit recipes check out:
A Way to Garden , Mattbites , Steamy Kitchen, White on Rice Couple, Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done, The Sister Project
Classic Cherry Pie (Printable Recipe)
Adapted from Bon Appétit
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if using sour cherries) or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (if using dark sweet cherries)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon (about) milk
Vanilla ice cream
Make the Crust
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt until blended. Add the cubes of cold butter to the mix, and rub them between your thumb and fingers until they break into small pea-size pieces and are incorporated with the flour. Add 5 tablespoons of ice water to the bowl, and mix it in with a fork. Keep adding water by the teaspoonful until the dough sticks together when you press a small piece between your fingertips. The mix will still look quite crumbly at this time.
Dump the mix out onto a flat surface, and using the heel of your hand, press down and out four to six times, smearing the dough onto the counter. This will create layers of butter, providing a flaky crust. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough off of the counter and form it into a ball. Divide the dough into two pieces and flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap the disks with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to two days. Let dough warm up at room temperature for 5 minutes before rolling it out.
Make the Filling
Preheat the oven at 425 degrees with a rack in the lower third of the oven, and a sheet pan covered in foil on the very bottom rack to catch drips.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup of sugar, arrowroot powder, and salt. Next stir in the cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
Assemble the Pie
Roll out one of the dough disks on a lightly floured surface, until it is 12 inches in diameter. Carefully transfer the crust to the bottom of a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the dough so it only overhangs the dish by 1/2 inch.
Roll out the second dough disk in the same manner, until it is 12 inches in diameter. Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut long even 3/4 inch wide strips from the dough. Working quickly, pour the filling into the pie dish, smoothing it to create a level surface. Take the 3/4 inch strips and alternate them on top of the pie, to create a lattice. Trim the edges of the strips until they only overhang by 1/2 inch, then crimp the edges of the crust together using your fingers or a fork. Lightly brush the lattice pieces with milk (not the crust or it will get too brown), and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top.
Place the pie in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 60-75 minutes, or until the crust is evenly browned and the filling is bubbly. If the edges turn too brown, cover them with foil while the pie continues to bake. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for several hours before serving (this will help the pie set up). Cut the pie into wedges and serve accompanied with vanilla ice cream.