Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cherry Pie

Cherry pie is even more classic than apple as far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing better for dessert than hot cherry pie with vanilla ice cream. For the quintessential cherry pie, use fresh cherries when in season. I used to take my children up to the old Butler Cherry Ranch in June every year and we would pick cherries until our fingers were purple with juice. I’d take those cherries home and pit them and bake them into pie that tasted like a slice of heaven, as they say. We always had way more cherries than would fit in a pie or two, so I put them up in jars and used them all through the year. You don’t have to pick the cherries yourself to make a great cherry pie; even frozen, pitted cherries can be transformed into a heavenly dessert at any time of year. Here’s how.


5 c. pitted fresh cherries or two 1-lb. bags of frozen pitted cherries
1/3 c. honey (more if you prefer it sweeter)
3 tbsp. lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is best)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 double-crust pie shell (either make from scratch or purchase ready-made—see below)


Making cherry pie is as easy as, well, as easy as pie, once you have your pie crust. That’s the complicated part. You need a double-crust pie shell to fill with the cherries. You can either purchase a couple of readymade pie shells (use one on the bottom and put one on the top) or you can make your crust from scratch. Refer to my discussion about pie crusts (both with and without gluten) if you decide to make your own. The rest of this recipe assumes that you have the pie crust in which to place the cherry filling.

Preheat the oven to 350˚. (I spread two sheets of aluminum foil in the bottom of the oven when I bake pie, just in case the juice spills over.)

If you use frozen cherries, they will have some cherry juice in the bag when you open it. Drain all the juice off of one of the bags of cherries and keep the juice from the other bag. My favorite cherry pie cherries are the dark Bing cherries because I love their deep purple-maroon color and their meaty texture. In a large bowl combine the cherries (in juice) and honey. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the lemon juice and stir together until all the cornstarch is blended. Pour the cornstarch and lemon juice into the bowl of cherries and stir. Set the cherry filling aside.

Prepare your bottom pie crust and place it in the pie pan then roll out your top pie crust. Refer to my discussion of pie crusts to make the crust from scratch. Do not place the cherry mixture into the bottom crust until the oven is preheated and you have the top crust ready. When all systems are go, place the cherry filling in the bottom crust, cover it with the top crust, and place it in the oven. Bake for one hour at 350˚.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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