I live in a rural community not too far from some lovely fruit orchards. A few weeks ago I took my kids for a drive to look at the cherry trees. We’ve been watching them since the early spring when buds first started forming. We marveled at the lovely blossoms in late April. Now the branches are heavy with the lovely red fruit. I can’t wait until they start selling them by the roadside.
Our family loves cherry pie. Last summer I started making pies with fresh cherries. We’ve never gone back to bottled cherries or canned pie filling.
Fresh Cherry Pie
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
2 prepared pie crusts (store bought or homemade), rolled and ready to use
5 cups pitted sour or Bing cherries (2 to 2 1/2 lbs.)
1 1/4 cups sugar (3/4 cup for Bing cherries)
3 to 3 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch or quick-cooking tapioca
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 to 2 drops red food coloring (optional–I didn’t use it)
2 to 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Fit one of the rolled pie crusts in a 9 to 10″ deep dish pie plate.
Place the pitted cherries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and cornstarch. Toss. Add water, lemon juice, almond extract, and food coloring (if using). Toss again to coat, making sure no lumps of sugar or cornstarch remain.
Pour the cherries into the prepared pie plate. Dot with the 2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter.
Fit the second rolled pie crust on top of the filling and crimp the edge to seal the top and bottom crust together. Use a fork to poke holes along the top of the pie. Use any extra pie crust scraps for decoration, if desired. Place the pie plate on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet to catch any overflowing juices.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Lower oven to 350 degrees F, and let the pie continue to bake for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until the top and bottom are golden brown, and the juices are bubbling and syrupy.
Cool the finished pie on a rack until ready to serve. (We let it cool completely for neater slices and then warmed the individual slices in the microwave for 10 seconds.)
(A scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the side is a must.)