Image: Cherry Pie Ala Mode, Flickr, Steven Miller
The cherry on top of any meal is the dessert. It is even better when that dessert is cherry pie. Homemade cherry pie is often a recipe passed down from generation to generation. If your grandma didn’t give you a recipe, this one is just as good.
Homemade cherry pie with all the trimmings is a heartwarming feeling, whether you make yours in a casserole dish or a pie iron (like the Uno Casa Pie Iron). Cherry pie fillings can be made in big batches and stored in the freezer for later use. The homemade filling is the best part; you can use fresh or frozen cherries.
You can prepare make-ahead pies for camping trips or as a last-minute after-dinner treat. Just pop it in the oven or over a toasty fire; in 30 minutes, your campsite will smell like sweet cherry pie.
Homemade Cherry Filling
The filling is what makes the pie so tasty; you can use it for more than just the best cherry pie. This recipe yields 4 cups of filling, some for today, a little for tomorrow, and a bit for another day.
- 3 cups of pitted cherries, fresh or frozen cherries, work well
- 1 cup of white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons of corn starch mixed into 2 tablespoons of cold water; it should be combined into a smooth liquid.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cherries, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir the pot, dissolving the sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Mix the corn starch mixture to remove any lumps and smooth it out. Pour into the cherry mixture before boiling point. Stir the mixture continuously.
The sauce will thicken and become glossy. Remove the filling from heat; as it cools, it will thicken more. Set aside for your pie. To make the filling freezer friendly, store it in a glass jar; once completely cooled, you can freeze it.
The Perfect Pie Crust
Pie dough is simply easy and kneading it is a form of therapy. Fresh pie dough elevates the dish. Classic cherry pie crust has a slight hint of almond essence. If you don’t have almond, vanilla extract works well. Store-bought pie crust works well; however, it is always best to make this recipe at home.
- 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, sieved (use this mixture for a gluten-free alternative)
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 cup of butter, unsalted, cold, and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup of ice water
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or almond essence
In a food processor:
Combine the salt, flour, and sugar. Pulse the processor a few times, drop the cubes of butter into the processor, and pulse until it looks coarse and crumbly.
Add the vanilla or almond essence. Pulse the mixture again. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of water into the mixture. Continue pulsing, test the dough to see if it will hold together if you squeeze it. Add more water if needed.
Push the dough together. Split the mixture in half. Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap. Set the disk of dough aside in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight—place in the freezer for a make-ahead cherry pie.
Using a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Cut the cold butter into the dry flour mixture, rub the butter in using your fingertips. Try not to rub with your palms as it will melt the butter.
Sprinkle in the essence or extract and add the water by sprinkling it bit by bit until it comes together. Lightly knead the dough together on a floured surface.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
The Best Pie
- Homemade Vanilla Ice cream
To make the pie prepare your pie iron or your pie pan. Lightly grease the dish and set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a floured countertop, roll one of the chilled dough halves out. Once rolled, place it gently in the pie dish. Trim any excess dough off.
Roll the other half of the dough out and slice it into slices if you are creating a lattice crust. If you are using a pie iron, a solid crust will work best.
Spoon the filling into the pie dish. Top with the crust dough. Pinch the top and bottom of the pie crust together to seal the crusts. Using an egg wash (beat an egg and some milk together), brush the mixture on top of the crust. Sprinkle course or brown sugar on top.
Place the cherry pie in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully place a sheet of aluminum foil on the top of the pie, and bake for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the cherry pie from the oven, place it on a wire rack and cool for 3 – 4 hours. Serve the pie with a scoop of fresh vanilla ice cream.
Store the rest of your pie in a sealed or air-tight container in the refrigerator. To serve the chilled pastry, you can warm it slightly in the microwave before serving.
Tip: If you are using frozen dough, thaw it out thoroughly before rolling it out.