Following King Arthur Flour's recipe, I drained the cherries. The recipe suggests using their pie filling enhancer or tapioca. I ran out of pie filling enhancer, but I did have a jar of Instant Clearjel. I prefer this product over using either flour or tapioca, because I believe it doesn't "muddy" the color or flavor of my pies-- and it works great!
King Arthur Flour Baker's Hotline and they told me to use 7 1/2 teaspoons Clearjel, mixed into the sugar. So the filling was made, and I set it aside. I preheated the oven to 425F. It's time to roll out the pie crust.
I made the pie crust dough the day before, and refrigerated it. I let it slightly soften, for no more than 30 minutes. This would be my first time making a lattice pie crust. For some reason, I had it in my head that this would be a challenge to do. After looking at step-by-step tutorials, I took a deep breath and got rolling. Pun intended.
NOTE: I've posted several pie recipes on my blog and, so far, my personal favorite recipe for pie crust is to use all butter (Pate Brisee). Personally, I prefer the flavor that butter imparts. I honestly believe I can achieve a very tender pie crust, without using shortening. For shortening/lard purists, I have posted a few pies with shortening as the ingredient.
I spooned the filling into the pie crust. I keep forgetting to adjust for my deep dish pie pan. I should have used one more can of cherries, so the pie filling would go all the way to the top. No sense fretting, and I continued on...
Time to make the lattice top.
Well, that was easy!
I had flour all over my hands, so I didn't photograph how I wove the strips, but it really isn't rocket science. I found myself talking to myself-- "in and out, in and out", thinking of a May Pole dance.
I stepped back to admire my work. Nice! Then it hit me...
I forgot to dot the filling with butter! So, you can kind of see how I made the lattice, after all! You don't have to dot fruit pies with butter, I but I like the richness it adds to the filling. Okay, done.
The perfectionist in me was annoyed that I had skipped a "weave". Guess what else I suddenly realized?
The reserved cherry juice! I forgot to add 2/3 cup of the reserved cherry juice to the filling!!! I slapped my forehead, and had to just exhale and hope that the cherries would release enough juice to make this pie a success.
What I enjoy, most, about making pies is playing with dough. I actually find crimping pies to be very therapeutic work for me. In retrospect, I should have used a fork to crimp the edges of this lattice pie, and that's what I'll do in the future. I thought the crust was a tad too thick for my personal liking. Then again, I've admitted numerous times that I really don't care for eating pie crust.
NOTE: If you'd like to see how I make my pie crust dough, with a food processor, and how I roll and crimp a perfect pie crust, click here to see it.
sparkling white sugar, for texture. But, this time, I skipped using it. I set two timers-- one for 45 minutes and another for 25 minutes. I like to check my pies, at about the halfway point, to check that the crust isn't getting too dark. Yikes! At 25 minutes, one area was getting dark, so I quickly added a pie crust shield (hastily made of rolled aluminum foil) and took the pie out at 45 minutes.
I exhaled a sigh of relief. There was juice bubbling through the lattice.
Three hours later, with my son waiting in the wings, I grabbed a knife and spatula...
Look at that! The filling is firmly set. Will the filling be like concrete? Let's see.
I hope you're not really hungry right now. To me, this is food porn at it's best. See the juice? The cherries pretty color? That flaky layers of crust? I'm one very happy home baker.
I refer to the "stuff" that collects in the center of a cut pie as "pie guts". This is my favorite part to eat. Remember? I'm not a pie crust fan. I take my first bite...
TASTING NOTES: Pure love. Ecstasy. If you love cherries, then you will love this recipe. These are Montmorency Cherries and they are absolutely perfect for making cherry pie! They are just a tad tart, with a perfect balance of sweet. The cinnamon was so subtle , that I was glad I reduced it. The almond flavor had the perfect balance that gave this cherry pie that old-fashioned retro taste. Yes, the filling was juicy and sweet, but not over-the-top.
The crust-- well, the crust was as tender as anyone could hope for. True to my style, I left the crust behind. Does that drive pie crust lovers crazy? My husband always gets my crusts, and he's a very happy camper about that. (I also was the lucky winner of a rogue cherry pit that I bit into.)
It's been years since I've bought store bought pie crust, and now I am reminded why. For one, pie crusts are really easy to make. You can control what ingredients go into it. They take minutes to make, and you can freeze them for a month.
Both my husband and son say that this is the best pie I have ever made. They say that this surpasses my famous Olallieberry Pie. Really?! Well, thank you! My son ate three slices. Husband and I eat had two. This morning, there is one odd-shaped slice left. It's been gutted. The nocturnal kitchen mice must have returned, because nobody is fessing up.
The best cherry pie? Well, humbly said.. "yes". Absolutely. I will never pie cherry pie filling again. Once cherry season comes, I'm going to stock up on fresh cherries to freeze and to make this pie again...and again...and again!
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