Friends who live in Louisville have a cherry tree in their backyard, and last week the cherries came in. Beautiful sour cherries, perfect for pie, and a practically inexhaustible supply! We drove out for a cocktail and cherry picking party, and came home with gallons of cherries. Most went into the freezer, but The Baker in the family sprang into action and made a pie.
Bakers are not chefs. Chefs are not bakers. Both need skills, restraint, and intuition, but bakers (and, yes, mixologists) also need to measure accurately – it’s as much physical chemistry as art. For this reason even amateur chefs are generally lousy at baking, and in our house The Baker rules dessert.
The recipe below blithely calls for a “double crust,” a nearly impossible thing to make well. I won’t attempt to describe The Baker’s recipe here, you can’t really write it down. She rejects any crust made by a machine. Health conscious, yet in search of the perfect crust, she can’t bring herself to use lard and has always made a Crisco crust. This caused her great pain through the trans-fat aware years. Classic Crisco was a trans-fat nightmare: this led to all-butter crusts which taste great but sacrifice a certain lightness. Other experiments were disastrous. Happily, “new” Crisco is trans-fat free, neutral tasting, and the food scientists have done a good job getting the texture back. Don’t cringe too much – it’s only one or two pies a year! But your mileage may vary, make whatever crust you prefer.
- Double pie crust for 9″ pie
- 4 1/2 cups fresh sour cherries
- 2-3 Tb quick cooking tapioca
- A few teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar
- 1Tb butter
Preheat oven to 450F. Make pastry for a double pie crust. Roll out slightly more than 1/2 of the pastry into a 1/8″ thick crust. Line 9″ pie pan with crust.
Wash, drain, and pit cherries. Mix cherries with tapioca and sugar. Squeeze on a bit of lemon juice, to taste.
Let stand for 15 minutes. Roll out remaining crust. Cut into 1/2″ lattice strips. Pour cherries in pie pan. Dot with butter. Place lattice strips on pie, alternating in a perpendicular pattern.
Bake pie in oven for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350F and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes more (check after 35 minutes).
The Blackmon/MacDonald cherry tree, Louisville, Colorado.