I love cherry season! Every summer I buy enough cherries to feed a small army – this summer perhaps more than most as I’m currently between jobs and spending lots of time at home relaxing and trying to keep the snacks as healthy as possible! Though I can certainly munch fresh cherries all day long, there are few pastries I enjoy more than cherry pie. This weekend, we were going to visit friends and I decided to whip one up for dessert.
Most people advocate using sour cherries for a pie, hence most recipes are directed towards sour cherries and have a large amount of sugar to compensate for the tart cherry taste. I personally happened to have bing cherries on hand, so I went searching and turned up a fairly straight-forward Martha Stewart recipe that I modified slightly. I cut back on the sugar content by another 50%, and instead of plain sugar I used vanilla sugar to round out the flavors in this recipe nicely. (If you don’t have vanilla sugar, you can always add a tsp of vanilla to the filling and I’m sure it would come out great.) I also didn’t have quite the 2 lbs of cherries called for, but figured I would just give it a try and see how it went. Turns out, it’s much easier to make than I ever thought it would be – the gooey, perfectly sweet, crimson filling came out just right. As the great philosopher/80′s band Poison once said, “She’s my cherry pie, tastes so good, makes a grown man cry.”
Vanilla Bing Cherry Pie Fillingadapted from Martha Stewart
- 1.5 lbs fresh bing cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/4 cup vanilla sugar ** may substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 cup plain sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Your favorite pie crust recipe – enough to make 2 crusts(or in a pinch, just use frozen/refrigerated pre-prepared pie crusts!)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out pie crust to 1/4 inch thickness and press into pie plate of your choice, reserving top crust for later. Place cherries in a large bowl and sprinkle with the vanilla sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Mix ingredients well. Place pie filling into prepared crust. If you wish to make a decorative lattice with your top crust (as I did) – roll your top crust to 1/4 inch thickness, then cut your pie crust into 3/4 inch strips. Taking alternating strips from the top crust, lay them all parallel to each other on top of your pie – do not press into the bottom crust yet!. Then, fold back every other strip on top of the pie. Take the longest remaining pie crust strip, and place across the middle of your pie over the strips that did not get folded back. Unfold the strips over the newly laid pie crust strip. Then, fold back the alternating strips, laying another new pie crust strip on top. Continue folding alternating strips, laying new pie crust strips, and unfolding until you have covered the top of the pie. (As you started in the middle, when you have finished one side of the pie - fold back the other side of the pie crust strips and repeat the process going towards the opposite side!) When lattice is formed, trim the stips to fit the curve of your pie plate, and crimp down the lattice strips to the bottom crust. Place pie in oven on center rack. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes longer, or until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!