All-Seasons Cherry Pie

Washington’s Birthday always makes me think of cherry pie, and thinking of cherry pie always makes me crave it. Washington’s Birthday, however, does not fall around the fresh-cherry season. When I don’t have any tart red pie cherries in the freezer, here’s a special way l devised to use canned cherries for a pie, bringing out their best flavor.

Marinating time: 12 hours
Setting time: at least 4 hours
Preheat the oven to: 425°F.
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes
INGREDIENTS MEASURE WEIGHT
room temperature volume ounces grams
Perfect Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust
2 cans (16 ounces each) tart red pitted cherries, packed in water
Cherry Kijafa ¾ cup
sugar ¾ cup 5.25 ounces 150 grams
cornstarch 2 tablespoons 0.5 ounce 15 grams
salt a pinch
almond extract ¼ teaspoon
lemon zest, finely grated 1 teaspoon
KEEPS: 2 days.

Method

Twelve hours ahead or night before

Pour the cherries into a colander set over a bowl and let them drain for 30 minutes. Press lightly to extract as much liquid as possible without crushing the cherries. Reserve ¼ cup of the cherry juice and discard the remainder.

In a medium noncorrodible saucepan, combine the reserved cherry juice, the Cherry Kijafa and the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the cherries and bring just to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover and remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then transfer the cherries and the liquid to a jar. Cover and macerate for 12 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 425°F. at least 15 minutes before baking time. Have the oven shelf at the lowest level.

On a floured pastry cloth or between 2 sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap (preferably Saran brand), roll the crust to 13 inches ( inch thick). Transfer it to the tart pan. Fold in the excess, pleating and trimming if necessary. Press the pastry against the fluted edges of the pan. Cover the pastry lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes or until very firm.

Line the pastry shell with foil and fill with pennies, aluminum pie weights or beans, making sure they are pushed up well against the sides. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the foil, prick the crust with a fork and continue baking 5 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

Pour the cherries back into a colander set over a bowl and let drain for 30 minutes. Reserve all liquid.

In a medium noncorrodible saucepan, boil the reserved liquid over high heat until it. is reduced to 1 cup (5 to 8 minutes). Remove it to a bowl, cover and cool to room temperature.

In the same saucepan, stir together the cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in the cooled cherry liquid. Add the cherries and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring, for 1 minute, until the liquid is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat, stir in the almond extract and pour the cherries into the baked pastry shell. Using your thumb and forefinger, sprinkle the lemon zest evenly over the top. Cool to room temperature before removing it from the pan.

Allow the pie to set for at least 4 hours before serving.

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