Chris’ favorite pie is pumpkin. Without question, if I offer to make a pumpkin pie, he is on board with that idea. His second favorite is cherry pie. I always had reservations making a cherry pie, because most of the time, cherries weren’t in season, pitting cherries is a pain anyway, and the only other available option was the bright red canned cherry pie filling. Also, most of the other fruit pies I have made end up being fruit soups. Not anymore. We have started going to Sam’s Club regularly for some basics, and while browsing their freezer section one time, I saw huge bags of frozen sweet cherries. Thinking in terms of smoothies, I grabbed a bag, and then promptly forgot about it in the freezer for 4 months. Oops. Eventually, I found the cherry pie recipe here. I decided to make it for Pi day, and wow. We both loved the results. It has a very straightforward cherry fruit flavor, and is not nearly as cloyingly sweet as most of the canned fillings. You also get more fruit, which is always nice in a fruit pie. Unfortunately, the first time I made it I didn’t remember to get a photo of it for the blog. So I made it again today. Now, I cheated and used store-bought pie crust, but if you have a fantastic pie crust recipe, feel free to use that.
Pie crust (enough for 1 double crust pie)
48 oz frozen dark sweet cherries (if you can find tart cherries, that would be better, but those are hard to find here)
3/4 cup sugar (a little less if you want a less sweet pie, down to 1/2 cup, or more if you’re using tart cherries-up to 1 cup)
5 tbsp corn starch (may need a little more, depending on how juicy your cherries are) (tapioca can be used as well, just use 1 tbsp less than the corn starch)
Pinch of salt
Splash of vanilla (optional)
1 tbsp butter
1 egg, for egg wash
Prepare your pie crusts according to your recipe, or buy them. Set them aside while you mix the cherries (still frozen is fine) with the sugar, salt, vanilla and cornstarch. It will look something like this.
Set the bowl out for an hour and let the cherries thaw and soak into the starch. If you’re impatient (like I am), then pull out a medium saucepan, pour the whole kit and caboodle into that and bring to a simmer. It will start out looking cloudy
Once is comes up to a simmer, let it simmer gently for 5 minutes or so. It should thicken and clear, looking something like this.
Let it cool while you deal with the crust. Preheat your oven to 425 and roll out your bottom crust. This is enough filling for a deep dish 9″ pie pan, so plan accordingly. Once you have your bottom crust in place, pour in the filling and dot the top of the filling with the broken apart butter. Top the pie with your second crust (I like lattice, but you can use a full crust if you like, just remember to leave some vent holes). Brush the entire crust with egg wash, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Remember to put a tray under the pie pan-it may drip a little bit. After 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 375 and bake another half hour. The filling should be bubbling gently. Remove and let cool for several hours, until fully set and at room temperature.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, if you must, or just enjoy a piece unadorned. At some point, I am going to try this same method with a blueberry pie, or a peach and blueberry pie. When I do that, I will report any positive results here.