I call this my humble pie.  I love pies and I love making pies but I’m still working on my pie dough skills.  It’s a work in progress and with trial and error I’m learning something new each time I put a pie together.   The first time I ever made a cherry pie with fresh cherries I thought it was the best thing I’d ever ate.  I like sweet cherries better than sour but I would not recommend Bing cherries as they tend to be hard and don’t cook down the way other cherries do.  The cherries were on sale this week so I picked up a few to bring home just to eat.  They had that taste and texture that I knew would make a great pie so I went back and picked up enough to make two.

In the past I’ve used a small knife and pitted these guys by hand but I was in no mood to sit for hours pitting cherries.   I went down to the Target store and found this handy dandy little pitter that saved me hours of frustration. By the way you’ll need 4 – 5 cups of pitted cherries for each pie.

I previously made some pie dough, divided it and placed in the fridge for a few hours to chill.  I use the recipe and instructions from Simply Recipes which gives detailed info.  For the pie filling I assembled sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract plus some butter for dotting the pie.

You can use various thickeners in pies.  Some recipes use flour or cornstarch.  I happen to like tapioca in this pie.  Whatever you decide on you’ll need 1/4 cup.

After tasting the cherries, I decided I they didn’t need a full cup of sugar, which some recipes call for.  I cut it down to 2/3 cup.

Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.  I also added a couple spritz of fresh lemon to give it some tart and attitude.  Stir all that together and set aside.

Time to roll out the pie dough.  What worked better for me this time was using chilled butter rather than freezing the butter ahead of time.  It incorporated better and made easier to work with.

So far so good.  I transferred the dough to the pie plate and was able to crimp the edges.  I added the cherry mix and dotted with 1 teaspoon butter.  Next roll out the top layer and gently place over the top.  Now time for a confession  . . .  I cut out a cherry impression in the top layer of the dough but when I laid it over the top of the pie filling it stretched the shape and contorted it to look more like a shriveled  apple.  Next time I will do any cutouts after I lay it over the pie. Brush the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, turn down the heat to 350 and continue baking an additional 25 minutes.

I made 2 pies and this was the other one.  This one went in the freezer.

The crust turned out great, nice and flaky.

Fresh Cherry Pie

1 Double Crust Pastry for 9″ pie
4 cups Pitted Cherries
1/4 cup Quick Cooking Tapioca
1/8 teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup to 1 cup Sugar (depending on the sweetness of cherries)
Spritz of Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract
1 tablespoon Butter, for dotting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine pitted cherries, tapioca, salt, sugar, spritz of lemon juice, vanilla and almond extracts.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Roll out bottom crust and place in the bottom of the pie plate.  Roll out the top crust and set aside.  Pour the cherry mixture into the pie plate and dot with butter.  Lay the top crust over the pie, flute the edges and cut vents in top.  Place small strips of aluminum foil around edges.  Secure with toothpicks.  Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees, turn down heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 25 minutes.  Remove the aluminum foil edging 35 minutes into the bake time.