As much as I love pie, I don’t like to compromise on the qualities that I think make up a great one. For instance, I think a pie has to have a good crust that is a blend of flaky and tender. I also think that that crust should be well browned when it comes out of the oven, not pasty looking. And when it comes to cherry pie, I absolutely do not want a filling that is all goopy and full of more cherry jelly than cherries! That might make me a bit picky, but it also makes me someone who has great cherry pie.
This is my very favorite cherry pie recipe. The pie is made from scratch with fresh cherries and, although you can try refrigerated crusts and use jarred cherries in this recipe, I think that everyone who likes pie should make it from fresh, sweet cherries at least once. The cherries are pitted and tossed with a mixture of sugar and cornstarch to ensure that their juices thicken and that the pie will hold together nicely after slicing. They are put into a pie crust-lined pie plate and topped off with a second layer of pie crust to make a beautiful, double-layer pie. The pie is simple, with just a few ingredients in the filling and a few in the crust, and you can’t beat the flavor of the finished product. It is just sweet enough to really be bursting with cherry flavor, and there isn’t any of that cherry goop to get in the way of the actual berries.
Wait until the pie is close to room temperature before slicing into it because that will give the filling enough time to thicken. This pie slices neatly to reveal tons of cherries between a crisp, flaky crust made with a blend of vegetable shortening (nonhydrogenated) and butter. I latticed the top of the crust, but you can put down a full pie crust and simply cut a few vents, too. The baking time will not change. I’d recommend serving it with vanilla ice cream, but this one doesn’t need a single thing besides a fork!
My Favorite Cherry Pie
5 cups pitted cherries
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 recipe for double crust pie, below
cream or milk, for finishing
coarse sugar, for finishing
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place cherries in a large bowl and toss with cornstarch, salt and sugar.
Roll out one half of the pie dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle just larger than your pie plate. Transfer to pie plate and gently press into place. Pour cherries into pie plate and dot filling with pieces of butter.
Repeat with remaining pie dough and lay sheet on top of the cherries. Pinch the edges of the crusts together to seal the pie, then crimp the edges with your fingertip. Cut 5-6 inch-long vents in the top of the crust.
Brush crust with cream or milk, then sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, until filling is thick and bubbly and crust is a dark golden brown. Wrap a little aluminum foil around the edges of the crust if it gets too dark.
Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing.
Double Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup butter, cut into 1 inch cubes and chilled
1/4 cup shortening, chilled
6-8 tbsp ice water
Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Toss butter and shortening in the flour mixture, then rub in with your finger tips until mixture is coarse and no chunks larger than a small almond remain. Add water and press dough into a ball with the palms of your hands. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if necessary to pull the dough together.
Divide dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to two days.