Homemade Cherry Pie
Why is it that when you hand-pick your own fruit, it automatically tastes 100x's better?
Does the fresh-picked fruit really taste better, or is it automatically more special in our minds - so we just think it tastes better? Well, it's probably a little bit of both.
But, either way, growing (or at least picking your own produce) is always better in more ways than one.
When my dad picked cherries last year, we pitted bowls of them at the kitchen table. Overflowing bowls meant many pies, jams and some extra bags to freeze. Those cherries went into a few pies this spring, including this pie that was at the table during Easter brunch this past weekend.
It's my mom's cherry pie recipe. And one to keep on-hand if you find yourself by a cherry tree this year.
This past weekend, when my dad told everyone that the cherries were hand-picked and the crust was homemade, this cherry pie automatically reached pie excellence before anyone even took a bite. It's what I like to call the magic of homemade.
Mom's Homemade Cherry Pie
9-inch Pie Crust:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cubed (or shortening/Crisco)
8 tablespoons ice-cold water
5 cups of tart cherries (fresh and pitted or frozen, unsweetened cherries)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small cubes and dotted over top.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Make the pie crust: Measure flour and salt into a medium bowl. Cut in the butter or shortening with a fork or pastry cutter, until thoroughly mixed in and pea-sized pieces throughout the dough. Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough almost cleans the side of the bowl. More water can be added if needed.
Gather the dough into two balls and shape into two flattened rounds on a lightly floured surface. With a flour-covered rolling pin, roll dough one disk to about 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Roll up the dough on the rolling pin, then transfer it over the pie pan and unroll it over the pie pan and ease into pan. Press it down in the pan. It's good to have some dough hanging over the side. Reserve the second round in the refrigerator until you fill the pie with the cherry filling, in the next step.
Make the filling: In a bowl, toss together the cherries, sugar and flour until the cherries are coated. Pour the filling into the pie pan. Dot the butter over the top of the cherry filling.
Roll out the second disk of dough and unfold it over the cherry pie filling, so it hangs over the edges. Crimp the edges to a desired design, or use a fork and press down around the edge of the pie. Use a knife and cut an X or design into the top crust of the pie, so the air escapes during baking.
Bake the pie for about 40-60 minutes, until the crust looks like brown and the cherry syrup starts bubbling. When you take the pie out of the oven, sprinkle a little white sugar over the top of the entire pie. Let the pie cool, to allow the syrup to thicken before you cut into it.
Freeze: You can also freeze the pie. Just wrap the baked pie in plastic wrap and then cover with aluminium foil and freeze up to one month. Let it come to room temperature, or warm in oven before serving.
My favorite thing about this pie recipe and that my mom does not have a "set recipe." She adjusts it each time she bakes. If the cherries don't fill the pie pan, she adds more with a bit more sugar. If the filling appears too watery, she adds more flour.
Be lenient and don't expect to be perfect! It should be relaxing, not stressful.
And in the end, it'll be perfect no matter what!