One of the more idyllic things I did this summer was pick cherries in Montana and promptly make a pie. My mom’s neighbor has a cherry orchard. Just beautiful rows of cherry trees right next to her house. No big deal. Expect, yeah, that would be pretty stinkin’ awesome. Something to write home about. With a huckleberry pie under my belt, I was feeling the flow and ready to go for a cherry pie. We walked down to the cherry orchard and an hour later walked home with full bags ready to be pitted. If you haven’t pitted cherries before, it’s a labor of love. Knowing there’s a cherry pie at the end makes the whole process a little more bearable.
A month prior to visiting Montana, I was at The Pie Hole in Los Angeles with a friend. The cherry pie I ate there had such a unique almond flavor with a graham cracker crust, that I wanted to somehow incorporate almond into my pie. Here’s the recipe I used (slightly adapted to include fresh cherries) from Taste of Home. Instead of a graham cracker crust, it had a tradition lattice top crust. It was quite homey and just perfect for this experience!
- 6 cups pitted tart cherries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring, optional
- Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- Additional sugar
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; gradually stir in cherries and their juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter, extracts and food coloring if desired. Cool slightly.
- Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust; trim pastry even with edge. Pour filling into crust. Roll out remaining pastry; make a lattice crust. Trim, seal and flute edges. Brush lattice top with egg yolk. Sprinkle with additional sugar.
- Cover edges loosely with foil. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on wire rack.