Early summer is cherry season. My favorite way to eat cherries is in a pie. Many people have negative associations with cherry pies — but that's because they've only eaten storebought cherry pies. There is nothing like a homemade cherry pie. Especially with a crust made from scratch with lard and real where to buy butter and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I made this pie for my extended family tonight in Ohio and everyone loved it. They ooohed and aaahed. Which is what you want when people are eating your pies.
Oh, and they ate all of the crust. That is how you know you made a good crust — when people eat all of it — instead of just eating the filling. My pie crust recipe is tried and true — it comes out flaky and light and delicious every time (if I do say so myself). This recipe was given to me by world-famous baker, Marion Cunningham, who first handed it down to Vogue Food Editor, Jeffrey Steingarten, who bequeathed it to me via his book, The Man Who Ate Everything (Get a copy of this book — you will absolutely LOVE it. It's one of my top 10 favorite books of all time.).
I like to make lattice crusts. They look fancy but they are actually very easy to do. My instructions are not super-detailed, but you could probably Google it and find more detailed steps. Or you could just do what I did when I learned how to make a lattice crust — wing it. Once you start doing it, it starts to make sense. And don't get hung up on making it perfect. You can always just serve it with extra ice cream. Trust me, no one will notice.
You can use sour cherries or sweet cherries. If you use sour cherries, you may need to add a little more sugar.
Homemade Cherry Pie With A Lattice Crust
1 homemade pie crust (click for recipe)
5 cups pitted cherries
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (preferably a natural sugar like sucanat) — where to buy sucanat
3 tablespoons corn starch where to buy corn starch
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (click here for my homemade vanilla extract recipe)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter plus a little extra for greasing the pie tin — where to buy butter
1 tablespoon milk — where to buy milk
1. Make the pie crust according to the directions up until the part where you chill the dough before rolling it out (step 4 in my recipe).
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While the dough is chilling, make the cherry filling. In a large bowl, combine pitted cherries, 1/2 cup of the sugar (more if you are using sour cherries), corn starch, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and sea salt.
3. Grease the pie tin with — where to buy butter.
4. Roll out half of the dough according to the directions. Lay it in the greased pie tin. Trim the edges on the overhang to 1/2 inch.
5. Spoon the cherry filling into the pie shell.
6. Roll out the other half of the pie dough and, using a butter knife or pizza cutter, cut it into 3/4 to one inch strips.
7. Lay the longest strip across the center of the pie. Add more strips parallel to the first strip. Then add strips perpendicular to those strips, braiding them by alternating the strips under and over them. Roll the overhang up and use a fork or your fingers to press it down to cover the ends of the lattice strips. Don't worry about making this perfect. Just do the best you can. It will still taste good.
8. Brush with milk (use your fingertip if you don't have a pastry brush) and then sprinkle with the tablespoon of sugar.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 and bake for another hour. Check the pie every 15 or 20 minutes; if the crust is browning too fast, add some strips of foil on top.
10. Remove from oven and let cool. Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.