Perfect Cherry Pie

Saturday, July 23, 20113comments

Perfect Cherry Pie
Perfect Cherry Pie

So what makes the perfect cherry pie? My perfect cherry pie uses sweet cherries and not the sour type so popular in some regions. The pie should be completely uncomplicated and straight forward with the sweet cherries being the undisputed star of the show. While I do like a lard or shortening pastry for other pies, I love an all-butter pastry for cherry pie; the flavor combination of the fresh baked cherries with the crisp buttery crust is simple perfection. 

Perfect Cherry Pie
Perfect Cherry Pie

A perfect cherry pie should not be cloyingly sweet but should rely mostly on the natural sweetness of the fruit. This recipe uses only 1/4 cup sugar per pound of fruit; and I use brown sugar which brings out more of the natural flavor of the cherries. For me, a perfect cherry pie should hold together well when cooled and not be a soupy mess, nor should it be a gluey, starchy blob either.

Perfect Cherry Pie
Perfect Cherry Pie
This delicious recipe ticks all of those boxes for me and I have to admit that although I try to limit my dessert intake to one serving of anything that I make, I ate 3 pieces of this perfect pie yesterday from dinner to bedtime. I'm trying hard not to eat the last two pieces this morning while everyone else is out of the house!
Butter Pastry

1 cup very cold butter cut in small cubes
2 ½ cups flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water (Only enough to make a dough form.)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour, brown sugar and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible. Pour vanilla into cold water then pour over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible.

Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.

Roll the dough into a 12 inch round and place in the bottom of a deep 10 inch pie plate. Push the dough into the corners and ensure that it is not stretched at all or it will shrink from the edge. Trim dough to edge of plate.
Roll the remaining dough round into 12 inch square-ish shape and cut that into 8 equal strips for the lattice crust top.

Cherry Filling

3 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch salt
3 rounded tablespoons corn starch

Toss all together until well combined and pour into prepared pie plate.

Place the remaining pastry strips on top of the cherry mixture, interweaving them to form a simple lattice pattern. Tuck the ends of the strips under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp with a fork or your fingers to seal the pastry together. Brush the edges of the crust and the lattice top with an eggwash made by whisking together:

1 large egg yolk
1 to 2 tbsp water

Chill the pie in the fridge for about 20 minutes to a half hour before placing it on a cookie sheet (to catch any drips from the filling) in a preheated 400 degree F oven. Bake for 45 minutes at that temperature before covering the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 30- 45 minutes or until the filling bubbles at the center. Allow to cool on a wire rack at room temperature for at least a couple of hours before serving.

NOTE: If your lattice crust begins to get too brown after you have covered the edges with aluminum foil but before the filling is bubbling, you can place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top during the last of the baking time if needed.
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+ comments + 3 comments

July 29, 2011 at 2:06 PM

That really is a perfect pie! love the recipe and the crust is just stunning.

August 6, 2012 at 8:35 AM

I've made this 3 times so far and it really is fantastic! The crust is the most complimented. I add the vanilla extract to the water when I incorporate so it's pretty evenly distributed. Very pretty pie too!

August 6, 2012 at 8:36 AM

I've made this 3 time so far and it's fantastic! The crust is what I always get the compliments on. I love the brown sugar and vanilla flavors. Such a gorgeous presentation too!

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