Sweet Cherry Pie

A couple summers ago, Hatti was flipping through the latest Bon Appetit magazine (a girl after my own heart, huh?!), when she suddenly became very excited.  My then 6-year-old daughter ran over to me, plopped the magazine on my lap, and pointed to a picture of the most beautiful cherry pie ever.  She implored,

“Can we make this, Mom?  Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!”

Now the picture alone should have been enough to make me agree.  But I was also intrigued with making a cherry pie that uses REAL cherries.  I love, love, love sweet, dark summer cherries.  Not so much canned cherry pie filling, which was the only way I’d ever eaten cherry pie.  This was a recipe we HAD to try!

I simply cannot describe how good this pie is.  The crust is light, flaky, and buttery flavorful.  And the cherry pie filling?  Oh my…  It’s intense.  The filling is thick and syrupy and the slightly softened cherries are bursts of pure happiness in the mouth.  Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this pie is unbelievably scrumptious.

Needless to say, Hatti & I have made this pie a few times since our initiation into REAL cherry pie world.  It’s a permanent fixture in our recipe file.  And, no lie, this is something I dream about in the dead of winter.  It’s that insanely memorable.

Sweet Cherry Pie

Cook Time:75 minutes

Ingredients:

for the crust:

  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 5 T. (or more) ice water

for the filling:

  • 1 c. plus 1 T. sugar
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 c. whole pitted dark sweet cherries (about 2 lbs. whole unpitted cherries)
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • milk for brushing lattice crust

Directions:

First, prepare the crust. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and cut in with pastry knife or fingers until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. (This can be done 2 days ahead.) Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

Prepare filling. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12″ round. Transfer to 9″ glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2″. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12″ round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4″-wide strips from dough round.

Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2″. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning to quickly, about 50 to 60 minutes longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appetit magazine, June 2008

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