It’s no surprise that the first thing I chose to make from my 30 by 30 list was cherry pie. It’s one of my all-time favorite desserts (and is, without a doubt, my favorite type of pie). In fact, Tom and his siblings all have their own birthday cakes that my mother-in-law still makes for them, and my requested birthday “cake” is actually a cherry pie. 🙂 Cherries being in season and at a good price certainly helped make my decision much easier, too.
Now, I have professed my love for canned cherry pie filling and while I have no qualms about eating it in a pie, I wanted to make the filling from scratch. I’d been eyeing the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for a few weeks, and decided to give it a whirl. The pie uses 2 plums in the mix, which I thought was a bit odd, but I just went with it since the folks at Cook’s tend to know what they’re doing and plums are my favorite fruit, anyway.
This pie turned out really great. I loved the filling even more the second and third day (of course, I love the crust better the first day – always a dilemma with pie making!). I’m so glad to have a good recipe for my favorite pie in my repertoire now.
I used my favorite pie crust for this recipe—aka, the only one I’ve made from scratch. If an inexperienced baker like myself can pull this pie crust off the very first time (and every time after that), there is no reason to change. Plus it’s buttery and delicious, of course.
By the way, if you’re looking for something to do with all those cherry pits you so diligently removed, this is what I did.
Sweet Cherry Pie
Filling from Cook’s Illustrated
Your favorite double-crusted pie dough
2 red plums, halved and pitted
6 cups sweet cherries, pitted and halved (or 6 cups frozen cherries)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. instant tapioca, ground
pinch of ground cinnamon (optional, I used it)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 large egg beaten with 1 tsp. water (I just used a yolk that I had leftover from breakfast)
Process the plums and 1 cup of the cherries in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Push the puree through a mesh strainer and get as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Stir in the remaining cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, tapioca, and cinnamon (if using) and mix to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Line a 9″ pie pan with a round of dough. Fill with the cherry mixture. Scatter the pieces of butter over the fruit. Then, top with the second round of pie dough. Flute the edges using your thumb and forefinger or a fork to seal. Brush the top with the egg wash. With a sharp knife, cut eight 1″ vents into the top of the pie crust. Freeze the pie for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 and place a cookie sheet on the middle rack. Once the pie comes out of the freezer, place on the preheated sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly, another 30-45 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to let cool, and allow to set for 2-3 hours before serving.