Tastes so good it makes a grown man cry

Every year I make cherry pie for Thanksgiving. I take enormous pride in my pie. It’s great, it’s Alison’s favorite, and it seems impressive despite being one of the easiest desserts to make. Plus it’s a great holiday dish. In previous years, I have always followed a triple cherry pie recipe I discovered years ago. This year, I decided to go rogue and try my own version. I wanted to cut out the morello cherries, since it seemed like cheating to use jarred ingredients. But I love the inclusion of dried cherries, and losing the morello cherries meant losing the sugary syrup I used to reconstitute the cherries. So I searched around for a new method…

Why, hello there beautiful.

Cherries and wine. What could possibly be better? The smell of this stuff cooking is intoxicating.

(NOTE: I do NOT recommend the cherries pictured here. I bought them for my first attempt, when Trader Joe’s was out of their tart dried cherries. These are sweetened sour cherries from Whole Foods, and they made the first attempt entirely too sweet. Lesson learned: read the packaging!)

The rest of the recipe emerged from here. I substituted the double pie shell for an almond crumble, which was delightful. I continued to use my reliable pie crust recipe. I am seeking out a flakier version for the future. However, I recommend this one for anyone who is nervous about making pie crusts. It is pretty reliable. The trick is to use very cold butter and crisco, cut into cubes and tossed in the dry ingredients, then mash with a fork or pastry cutter until you have many small, crumbly pieces.

It is fine to have pieces of butter within the dough. In fact, that’s better. Then collect the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Try using saran wrap in the rolling process, too. It helps.


And 40 minutes later…

Unfortunately, pie must rest for an hour or so. But eventually, it’s ready to serve (and eat!)

Without further ado, here are the ingredients and instructions for each step.

Pie Crust Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chilled crisco, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Pie Crumble Ingredients
1/2 cup flour + 2 tbsp
3 oz almond paste
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract

Cherry Pie Filling
8 oz dried tart cherries (I recommend Trader Joe’s)
1 cup red wine + 2 tbsp
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole nutmeg, cracked in half
1 lb fresh or frozen Bing cherries, pitted (I used frozen)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch

Pie Crust Instructions

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl
  2. Using a fork or pastry cutter, mix butter and lard into dry ingredients (after first mixing them in the dry ingredients to coat) until dough resembles coarse meal, with small pieces of butter interspersed.
  3. Add three tablespoons of ice water and mix with a fork until dough begins to clump together. Add more water if dry.
  4. Gather dough together and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 3 days.
  5. When ready, remove from refrigerator and let sit for 5 minutes. Cover rolling surface and rolling pin with flour and roll out to about 12″ circumference. It may help to place the dough between two pieces of saran wrap and roll out, then remove plastic wrap before placing on your pie plate.

Pie crumble instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse to blend.
  2. I feel like there should be a second instruction here, but there really isn’t.

Cherry pie filling instructions

  1. Combine dried cherries, one cup of wine, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce to a simmer and heat over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Uncover and increase heat to medium. Simmer until the mixture is reduced, about 10 minutes.
  3. Discard cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add bing cherries and sugar and stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to medium and cook until cherries are tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Mix together two tablespoons red wine and two tablespoons cornstarch. Mix well, then add to cherry mixture. Cook until mix thickens to desired consistency (you can add additional cornstarch-wine mixtures if needed, 1 tbsp each at a time).

All three pieces of this recipe can be made 1-2 days ahead, if needed. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Fit the pie crust to the pie dish and crimp the sides. Fill the pie shell with the cherry mixture, then top with crumble. Bake for about 40 minutes. Allow to rest for at least one hour.

Top with homemade vanilla ice cream to serve, of course!

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