Sour cherry pie is my husband’s and my favorite pie, and it was also my father’s. I made it for his July birthday every year until he was ninety-seven, always tweaking it a little more toward perfection. This is my ultimate rendition. The filling is now thickened before baking the pie to make it easier to apply the lattice. The number of strips is increased to fourteen so that they are spaced just widely enough apart for everyone to see the beautiful bright red cherries but closely enough to maintain the juiciness of the filling. I also include the optional addition of cherry concentrate from Michigan. Because sour cherries have a lamentably short season, I give instructions for freezing. Here, too, are two variations, including one made with a wonderful preserved product in a jar. This pie is just too good to miss. I once met a little boy of eight who confided in me that his dream was to have a homemade cherry pie. My heart went out to him—so I baked him one!
|dough for a 14 strip lattice 9 inch pie||.|
|fresh sour cherries||about
|sugar (see Notes)|
|fine sea salt||.||.|
|pure almond extract||.||.|
|cherry concentrate (see Notes; optional)|
One 9 inch pie plate | An expandable flan ring or 12 inch round cardboard template | A pastry jagger or pizza wheel for cutting the lattice strips | A baking stone or baking sheet | A foil ring to protect the edges of the crust
Remove the dough for the bottom crust from the refrigerator. If necessary, let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.
On a floured pastry cloth, pastry mat, or between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll the bottom crust into a ⅛ inch thick disc, 12 inches in diameter or large enough to line the pie plate and extend enough to turn about halfway under the border. Lift the dough from time to time and add flour as necessary to keep it from sticking.
Before measuring the dough, make sure to lift it from the surface to allow it to shrink in so that it doesn’t retract when set in the pie plate. Use the expandable flan ring, or a sharp knife with the cardboard template as a guide, to cut a 12 inch disc of dough. Layer the scraps on top of the refrigerated dough for the lattice crust.
Transfer the dough to the pie plate, easing it into place. If necessary, trim the edge to make it even. Turn under the crust so that it is even with the edge of the pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Pit the cherries (see Notes), placing them in a medium bowl along with any juices that form. There should be
In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gently stir in the cherries along with any juices. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes to liquefy the sugar mixture. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring it to a boil and simmer for about 1 minute until thickened. Scrape the cherry mixture into a wide bowl or pie plate and let it cool completely. Stir in the almond extract and optional cherry concentrate, and scrape the mixture into the dough-lined pie plate.
Roll the second disc of dough into a 12 by 11 inch oval (⅛ inch thick) and cut fourteen 12 inch long, ¾ inch wide strips, using a ruler and the pastry jagger or pizza cutter. (If you are right-handed, start from the left side.)
To create a woven lattice, arrange half of the strips evenly over the filling, starting in the center. Gently curve back every other strip, a little past the center, so that the next strip can be placed perpendicular to the first strips, right at the center. Uncurve the strips so that they lie flat on top of the perpendicular strip. Working in the same direction, curve back the strips that were not curved back the first time. Lay a second perpendicular strip on top and uncurve the strips. Repeat with 2 more strips.
Apply the remaining 3 strips to the other side of the pie. Start toward the center and work in the opposite direction toward the edge. Remember always to alternate the strips that are curved back so that the strips weave in and out.
Use sharp kitchen scissors to trim the strips to a
Refrigerate the pie for at least 45 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Just before baking, if a crunchy and sparkling effect is desired, spritz or brush the lattice with a little milk or water (avoid the border because it will get too dark on baking) and dust it lightly with sugar.
Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and place the baking stone or baking sheet on it. Place a large sheet of nonstick aluminum foil or foil lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray on top of the stone to catch any juices.
Place the foil ring on top of the pie to protect the edges from overbrowning and set the pie on the foil-topped baking stone.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 3 hours before cutting. When set, the filling will remain juicy with just a little flow. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 4 days.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.