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Lanie’s 4th of July Cherry Pie

Over the weekend I was inspired to make a 4th of July cherry pie. While apple would be the all-American choice, I like the patriotic color of cherry. I checked the tried and true “plaid cookbook,” called my Mom, refused to add red food coloring to my food, and came up with my recipe for 4th of July Cherry Pie:

Cherry Pie Filling

1 16-oz bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (I shop at Trader Joe’s)
juice from thawed cherries + cherry juice = 1/3 cup cherry juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbs softened butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
Zest from 1/4 orange
Additional flour, salt, shortening for pie crust

Pour frozen cherries into a bowl to thaw. When cherries are thawed, reserve cherry juice and add more cherry juice to equal 1/3 cup juice.

Whisk together sugar + flour + salt. With a fork, mash in softened butter. Add and stir cherry juice + almond extract + orange zest. Toss in thawed cherries.

Set aside cherry mixture to macerate. Meanwhile, make pie crust…

Homemade Pie Crust

Sift together: 1+1/2 cups flour + 1/2 tsp salt.
Cut in: 1/2 cup shortening.
Add and toss lightly with a fork to mix dough: 4-5 Tbs cold water, adding and mixing 1 Tbs at a time.
Gather dough into a ball and knead a couple times. Do not over-handle the dough. Form dough into a ball; cut ball in half; form each half into a disk; wrap each disk in plastic wrap; refrigerate to chill.
Roll one disk of dough onto floured board; roll out enough that dough will hang over edge of pie dish. Roll pie dough onto rolling pin and lift gently to transfer rolled dough to pie dish.
Give cherry pie filling a stir and pour it into pie shell.
Roll second disk of dough onto floured board; slice dough into long strips with a sharp knife or pizza wheel; lay strips of dough in a lattice design over pie filling; fold ends of dough strips under and crimp top and bottom pie crusts together to form edge. Try to make it pretty, but don’t worry; it will be delicious.

Loosely cover edge of pie crust with foil to protect from burning. Bake at 425* for 40 minutes. Let pie cool completely on a wire rack to set filling before slicing.

Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream. Definitely eat leftover pie for breakfast – that’s why there’s no photo of my weekend creation.

A couple notes: 1) When I was ready to learn how to make pie crust, my Mom came over and made it with me. It’s best if an experienced baker will help on the first try, and then it takes practice to make a pretty pie crust. 2) For additional cherry juice, I pour from a jar of maraschino cherries which I have in the ‘fridge for making Super Cutie Cherry Muffins (February 2017 archives). 3) For orange zest in July, I froze orange rinds in quarters when I peeled oranges in the winter season, but you can buy oranges any time of year.

Up next: the Sage hubby requested a blueberry pie…

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American AppleCherrPear Pie

American apple pie

Well, this was supposed to be a Pi Day post and I did not get the option to schedule publishing. Now you have time to run to the market for your ingredients and make an American AppleCherrPear pie for National Pi Day.

Happy Pi (Pie) Day! This year I created a new fruit pie recipe based on a family favorite. The town where my Aunt Bonnie & Uncle John & cousins and Grandma & Grandpa lived had a landmark called Bun’s Bakery which served a Delaware, Ohio-famous chappleberry pie. You can figure it out the pie is a decadent fruit combination of cherry + apple + blueberry. Nothing against Bun’s creation nor blueberries, but I don’t like blueberries in pie. I adore blueberries fresh or in a pancake or a muffin, but not so much in pie. So my twist on Bun’s signature pie is apple + cherry + pear. I consulted my Grandma’s 1950s edition of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook to combine a few tried-and-true pie recipes. I always make a homemade pie crust and am baffled that Food Network personalities claim frozen is just as good. It is not. Start this Pi (Pie) Day recipe with a proper homemade pie crust.

Homemade Pie Crust

Sift together: 2 cups flour + 1 tsp salt.
Cut in: 2/3 cup shortening.
Add and toss lightly with a fork to mix dough: 6-7 Tbs cold water, adding and mixing 1 Tbs at a time.
Gather dough into a ball and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two portions; form into disks; wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate to chill until ready to roll.
After making pie filling, roll first portion of dough onto floured board; roll out enough that dough will hang over edge of pie dish. Roll pie dough onto rolling pin and lift gently to transfer rolled dough to pie dish. For fruit pie, I prefer to use a deep pie dish. Fill with delicious apple+pear+cherry mixture. Roll out second portion of dough; transfer rolled dough to top of pie. Fold extra dough under and pinch to seal two crusts; crimp the edges to make a pretty crust; cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.

AppleCherrPear Filling

1 cup frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
1-2 fresh pears (Bartlett); pared, cored, thinly sliced
2-3 fresh baking apples (Granny Smith); pared, cored, thinly sliced
Zest from 1 navel orange
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup sugar (can substitute turbinado raw cane sugar or organic coconut sugar)
2 Tbs unbleached flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch kosher salt
1-2 Tbs butter

Measure frozen cherries into bowl. Add orange zest + almond extract; lightly toss to mix; set aside.
Prepare fresh pears and apples by paring, coring, thinly slicing. Add sliced pears and apples to cherry mixture.
Mix together: sugar + flour + spices + salt. Sprinkle sugar mixture over fruit; lightly toss to evenly coat and mix fruit.
Spoon fruit mixture into bottom pie crust; spoon 1-2 Tbs remaining juices over top of fruit; dot with butter. Place top pie crust; fold extra dough under and pinch to seal two crusts; crimp the edges to make a pretty crust; cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400* for 50 minutes. Check pie at 25-30 minutes; when pie crust is golden cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning; continue baking. Cool pie on wire rack.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, homemade or from your local creamery. Just say “with ice cream” because this is my American AppleCherrPear pie. “A la mode” would be too fancy and, well, not American. Thank you, Bun’s Restaurant, a small-town America establishment, for many happy family memories and the inspiration. 

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