I made a lot of cherry pies this summer. And why shouldn’t I? They are one of the best pies. I thought I was going to be done with cherry pies for the season after the pie I made at my parents’s house, but then I came upon some sour cherries, and I couldn’t resist.
There are people out there who will tell you that sour cherries are the only good cherries for pie, and I believe I’ve already voiced my disagreement with that statement. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think sour cherries make a damn fine pie. I was going to make this pie with some sour cherries I picked myself with Not Far From the Tree, but then I waited too long and some of them went bad, and I think the rest went into the freezer for safe-keeping. So when I saw sour cherries at the market I had to buy some, because I knew it may be my only chance for the year.
Since I’ve already made two cherries pies (at least? have I made more?) this year, I knew I had to mix things up a bit, even though these were different cherries anyway. So I decided to do a lattice crust – I haven’t done any lattice crusts yet! Part of the reason I haven’t is because I had convinced myself that, while lattice-top crusts are pretty, I prefer the look of a full top crust. Being a pastry lover, I also like having the maximum crust to consume. And since I’d only done a lattice crust maybe 2 or 3 times before in my whole life, I think I just convinced myself that it was unnecessary extra work. However, I told myself that if I’m making a pie a week for an entire year, I can’t skip over lattice top crusts. GET REAL. Much like I’m going to force myself to blind bake some pie crusts during this project (I NEVER do, but I should get good at that during this project, because when else will I learn?!) I decided to wade a little into slightly uncharted waters.
And man, lattice-top crusts are GORGEOUS and they are TOTALLY NOT THAT MUCH WORK. Silly me! The key to lattice crusts is just weaving it properly – the first time I tried to do one I didn’t look up any directions and so it was really what some people online call a “faux lattice top crust” which basically just means it isn’t woven its just strands of pastry set on top of each other, but then bottom ones ultimately sink down too far into your pie from the weight of all the pastry strips going in the other direction. So find some basic instructions and it goes fast and easy – like these.
I also decided not to use my trusty almond extract in this pie – I usually use it in all my cherry pies, but I just wanted to taste the cherries in this one, unadulterated. So that’s what I did. It’s crazy to me how much a straight-up sour cherry pie actually does kind of taste like those cans of pie filling. Without further ado, here’s my sour cherry pie.
Lattice-Top Sour Cherry Pie – adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
- 1 double crust pastry recipe
- 2 1/4 lbs sour cherries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- one egg, beaten with a bit of water (optional)
- coarse turbinado sugar (optional)
Roll out your bottom crust and place in your pie plate. Put in the fridge or freezer to chill.
Pit your cherries (again, I totally recommend investing in a cherry pitter) and combine them with the sugar, tapioca starch, and salt. Set aside.
Roll out your top crust to the size you normally would – then cut into strips about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide – I like to use my pizza wheel to do this. If you have a nice pastry cutter thing that makes pretty designs, use that! I don’t have one, maybe I should get one. But I digress. When your strips are cut, take your bottom crust out of the fridge or freezer, fill with your cherry filling, and then start weaving your lattice crust following the instructions linked above, or any other of the many, many online resources for this task – or look in a good ol’ fashioned cookbook like The Joy of Cooking or something! When your crust is woven, cut off excess pastry, leaving about an inch around the edge. Fold the bottom crust edge over your lattice crust edge, and crimp! If you’d like, brush the top of your crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Protect your pie edge with tinfoil.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes and then lower the heat to 350 and bake until the pie is bubbly and the crust is golden brown – this should take somewhere between 40 minutes and an hour total, and you’ll want to remove the tinfoil from the edge for the last 5-10 minutes. Then – ENJOY.