The Perfect Cherry Pie – A Family Event

One of the things I love about being at my parents’ house are the gardens and fruit orchards.  Each year is a little different too, depending on what it is a good year for.   The summer of 2013 is a cherry year for sure.   

 This is only a fraction of the cherries that have been picked this season.

True to our family, the cherry prep last weekend became a family production.  My mom and sister pitted bowls upon bowls of cherries.

Greta played with her measuring cups and goldfish crackers while I prepared pie crusts.  I think I have a budding chef or baker on my hands. 

Usually, I use my own tried and true pie crust recipe.  However, since I was under the tutelage of my father, I decided to go ahead and try his recipe. 

I started flipping around the plethora of cookbooks and magazines and had a hard time finding a simple cherry pie.  So many of the recipes called for so many additives.  I almost overlooked the easiest pie, Fresh Cherry Pie.  

The crusts got a little on the warm side, which makes them difficult to roll out and transfer smoothly.  A cold marble or stainless steel rolling pin and a cold work surface makes this easier. 

Caroline got to work on the fillings for not one, but two cherry pies.

Meanwhile, dad hunted for seasonings.  We debated adding a teaspoon of almond extract, but ultimately decided to be purists.

The filling turns into a sugary thick mass when allowed to sit for a bit.

One pie is sealed up and ready to bake while the other awaits its top.

Post baking perfection.  One pie went home with my sister and her husband, one to my father-in-law for his birthday, and two to be eaten with afternoon coffee and breakfast.  My family is well known for enjoying pie at any time of the day.  A fresh pie is always better, so why not enjoy them for breakfast?

Dad’s Pie Crust – makes a double crust for a pie

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
3 tablespoons ice cold water
3 tablespoons cold vodka

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  In a medium mixing bowl, use a pastry blender to cut in cold butter until pieces are coarse crumb size.

2.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon ice cold liquid at a time; gently toss with fork.  Push moistened dough to side of bowl.  Repeat using rest of liquid.  Dough will be dry, do NOT give into temptation to make dough moister by adding more liquid.  This will make your dough tough.  Divide dough in half; form into a ball.

3.  On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to flatten ball of dough.  Roll dough from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter.  Do not overwork the dough and do not allow dough to warm up.  
4.  Carefully transfer dough to pie pan, by wrapping around a rolling pin, not allowing it to stretch.  
5.  Transfer filling into pie pan.  Repeat step 3 and 4 for second ball of dough.  Gently drape second circle of dough over the filling.  Use your fingers to seal the edges of the dough.  
6.  Optional: brush dough with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Cover edges in foil.  Place piece of foil on bottom rack of oven.  Place pie in preheated oven, on middle shelf.  Bake for 20 minutes at 400. Reduce oven to 350, remove foil, and bake another 40-50 minutes longer or til crust is golden and filling is bubbling.  
7. Let cool on wire rack.  
Fresh Cherry Pie Filling – makes filling for one pie
1. In a large bowl: combine 3 cups pitted, fresh ripe red tart cherries, 1 to 1-1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and dash of salt.  Turn into prepared pie pan.  Dot with 2 tablespoons of butter.  Seal top of pie with second half of pie dough.  Bake 50 to 55 minutes in a 400 degree oven.   


Published by Chelsea

Art teacher by day. Mother of 2 - day and night. Thrifter, crafter, artist, baker, chef, and DIYer in free time.

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