This is a riff on a pie my Mum used to make when we were kids, though in Ireland she'd often make it with apples. After living in California now for over 20 years, I've come to really appreciate the delicious cherries we have in abundance in late June and July and I like to put them with my yogurt in the morning. I simply can't get enough during the short season. I also like to make this when we have guests. Seems appropriate I'm sharing this on My Mum's birthday and that it's National Cherry Day. She would have enjoyed this pie. I hope you do too.
8oz plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl. Drop in the butter and either cut it in with your fingers or with a Cuisinart until the small pieces are well coated and the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (I go the lazy route). Stir in the sugar, mix egg yolk with water, tip into the fat and flour and mix quickly either by hand or in a Cuisinart to form a firm dough. Knead lightly until smooth. Split dough in half and flatten to thick discs. If possible, wrap in clingfilm and allow to rest for 30minutes in the fridge.
For Pie Filling
7 cups cherries pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1tbsp Vanilla Extract
While dough is resting combine the cornstarch and water in a bowl stirring to dissolve the cornstarch until liquid is milky.
Set 5 cups of Cherries aside.
Take remaining 2 cups of Cherries and puree in a blender. Don’t stress if there are still some cherry chunks. I always check to see how sweet this is and adjust sugars based on this (I prefer to taste the natural fruit so generally keep the sugar low)
Combine the puree and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to stir often so the bottom doesn’t burn. Once the mixture has reduced to 1 ½ cups, reduce the heat to medium low and stirring constantly add the cornstarch/water mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring and cook until the mixture is translucent again.
Remove from the heat, spoon a little of the puree onto a plate and let cool. Then rub it between your fingertips to feel for any remaining starch granules. Transfer the filling to a medium bowl and stir in vanilla extract. Let cool completely.
Heat oven to 400ºF. While the fruit mixture is cooling take dough discs out of fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Roll out the first disc to the size of pie plate with a little extra leftover. Place on pie plate base and cut around to remove excess dough. Use your finger to apply water around the edges. When fruit mixture is cold Stir the puree into the remaining whole cherries and add to the plate leaving edges clear so the top of the pie can adhere to the edges where you’ve applied the water. Roll out the second disc and either put on top as a plain pie top or cut strips to make a lattice effect. If a plain pie top be sure to pierce tops of pie to allow steam to escape. Pinch edges together with thumb and finger to connect both top and bottom. Brush the top with a beaten egg. Put on the top rack of oven and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 375ºF and move pie to center rack and bake until the crust is golden and the filling bubbling (20-30minutes). Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and allow to cool.
The pie is best after resting for 2-3hrs and up to 3 days if refrigerated. It can be reheated in a 325ºF oven for 15minutes if you prefer it warm. Also delicious served with Vanilla Ice Cream.