Monday, February 20, 2012

Lattice Topped Cherry Pie

Cherry pie, with a filling made easy by canned cherries, and finished with a lattice topped crust.

Lattice Topped Cherry Pie

I love a good homemade cherry pie, but I'm not too likely to pit cherries for an hour to make one, and yes, that's pretty much how long it takes to hand pit enough fresh cherries for a single pie. Okay, I might do that exactly once so I could blog about it, but I doubt it and I'm pretty sure there aren't many of us who would. Plus, it's messy, and believe me when I say, I make a big enough mess in my kitchen as it is.

But, I will make my own pie filling using canned cherries and to me that's close enough to a scratch cherry pie. It isn't that I am opposed to using canned pie filling, y'all know I use it all the time, but, the reason I actually made this pie, is because I've had these two cans of tart cherries in the pantry since the holidays, when my beloved husband picked up the wrong kind of canned cherries for me.

Besides, February is National Cherry Month, today is National Cherry Pie Day, and, just in case you haven't noticed from all the sale ads, it's also Presidents Day and the day we observe Washington's birthday. Even though the whole chopping down of the cherry tree is a myth, still seems a fitting day for a cherry pie, don't you think? So let's make a cherry pie!

Drain one can of the cherries into a saucepan. You won't need the liquid from the other can, but that's no reason to throw it out either. You can usually come up with some use for it, even if it's just adding it to a sangria, or a sour cherry lemonade, so use my ice cube tray trick and save that in the freezer.

For this pie filling, literally all you have to do is add 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to the saucepan with the cherry juice and whisk continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and add the juice of half a lemon juice - save the other half for some iced tea - and 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract. 

Gently stir in the drained cherries.

Set that aside and let it rest for 15 minutes. Transfer into an unbaked pie shell, dot the top with thin slices of butter, add a top crust, sprinkle some granulated sugar on top if you like, and bake.

Now, here's a couple more shortcut liberties I took. I didn't want to drag out the food processor to make a scratch pie crust, and besides that, I had some frozen pie crusts in the freezer - the kind in the aluminum pan - that also needed to be used. I prefer Pillsbury for prepared pie crusts to be honest, but one day when I asked The Cajun to grab some at the store on his way home, he showed up with the frozen ones in the aluminum tins. So wrong kind of canned cherries and a frozen tin pie crust. Hey at least he will make a grocery run for me even if it ain't always exact, for that I am grateful. Gotta love the man!

But... I still needed another top crust and I sure didn't want to fool with trying to coax a pie crust out of a pie tin. Thankfully, the pantry blessed me with a package of Jiffy pie crust mix.  Y'all, I swear if you hate making pie crusts, this is as easy as it comes! It's really a good mix, and nobody has to know it came from a box. I always keep a couple boxes in my pantry for, you know... those pie emergencies when I have to have pie, but I'm feeling a little lazy.

Anyway... I decided to make strips and do a lattice top. Just roll out your pie crust nice and thin and then use a pizza wheel to cut the dough into strips - whatever width you want. Don't be intimidated by the looks of a lattice and don't worry about trying to be perfect either. Besides it's much easier to do than it is to explain, so once you lay down those first strips, you'll see how easy it is. Just lay out the first 3 or 4 strips to start, let the edges hang over for now.

Lay another strip crossways and pull back the original strips to either tuck the new strip over or under. Trust me once you start laying them, you'll see what I mean. Lay the second strip on top, and repeat. This strip will tuck under the middle one.

Keep repeating as you lay each new strip down. At this point you'll want to fold excess over into the bottom pie crust and flute them together, but since I'm using a frozen pie crust in a tin, the pie edges were already nicely fluted for me, so I pretty much just fluted the strips into the existing crust best I could. 

Then just cut off the trimmings. Oops ... just realized I forgot to top my pie filling with the butter slices. Let's see if I can manage to sneak it into the lattice without having to undo my work. :)

Bake at 400 degrees F about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust browns and filling bubbles. I actually went a little bit too long here, but oh well. If you do that too, refer to the above about that whole "perfection" thing and let it go. Let cool for several hours before slicing.

Okay... so I didn't pit my own cherries and I used one frozen pre-made pie crust in a tin and another box mix that I mixed and rolled and cut into strips. But, I did make my own pie filling and it was a mighty good cherry pie. I mostly just wanted to show you how easy it is to make your own pie filling using a quality canned fruit product, and how quick it can be to pull a pie out of a well stocked pantry, if you happen to have a hankering for one.

Oh yeah - take those leftover scraps of dough, brush them with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake them. Cook's treat, though I suppose you can share them if you want to. Yum y'all!

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Recipe: Lattice Top Cherry Pie

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 8 servings

  • 2 cans red tart cherries (like Oregon brand), drained, but reserve juice from one can
  • 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar, plus a pinch for the top
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon of cold butter
  • Pastry for two crust, 9-inch pie

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drain the juice from one can of cherries into a medium sized saucepan. Reserve the juice from the other can for another use. To the juice in the saucepan, add the sugar and the cornstarch and whisk continuously over medium heat until thickened. Taste and add additional sugar if needed; continuing to cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and almond extract. Stir in the drained cherries and set aside for 15 minutes.

Transfer to a pastry lined pie pan and dot the top with the thin slices of butter. Add a second crust on top and vent, or do a lattice top, crimping the edges together. Sprinkle top lightly with additional granulated sugar, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees F about 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust browns and filling bubbles. Check pie at about 30 minutes and add an aluminum foil ring or pie shield around the crust edges if they are getting too dark.

Cool for several hours before slicing.


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©Deep South Dish
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Adapted from Oregon Fruit

Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Fresh Strawberry Pie, Like Shoney's
Old Fashioned Apple Pie
Chocolate and Pecan Dixie Pie

Disclosure: I received no compensation for discussing any of the products mentioned in this post. It just so happened to be what I had on hand and shows you how easy it is to pull a pie together with a well stocked pantry! So while it looks like a lot of name calling going on, I actually use these products and I actually purchased all of the products mentioned here out of my own pocket.

Posted by on February 20, 2012
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