One of the most important things you need to know about me is that I’m a turkey baby. I was born in November. Thanksgiving is always either on my birthday or a few days after. This is probably a big clue as to why I love food so much, and most importantly why I love pie. Especially Cherry pie. For my birthdays growing up, cake was never good enough; It had to be pie. It was also imperative that the filling came in a can. I actually never realized that you could make cherry pie without a can, until I was quite a bit older than I should admit. One of my fondest memories is sitting on the floor with a giant spoon scraping the last delicious, syrupy remnants out of a can of cherry pie filling, while enjoying the smells of the actual pie which was baking in the kitchen. Mmmm…..nostalgia. Thankfully I have had many birthdays to fill in the time between now and then, so I have been able to discover the taste of cherry pie without the can.
Fresh cherry pie is way better! Not only because of the taste, but because there is so much more to do. Washing the cherries, pitting the cherries, snacking on the cherries, and most importantly obtaining said cherries, which I had planned to make a nice big event of. This post was actually intended for June. I was going to drag my fella, and head out to Flathead lake to grab bags of fresh cherries from those cute wooden stands. However, due to my lack of knowledge on cherries in general, I didn't realize that cherries weren't in season until July. My plan for a May cherry hunt failed miserably. Everything was a little delayed, but it all turned out fine, because I discovered something even better than a cute cherry stand. It happens once a year in Polson, Montana right near Flathead lake: A Cherry Festival.
An entire day dedicated to cherries, oh my goodness it was the best! Polson’s main street was lined with booths with things to sell, from handmade cherry tarts, to cherry flavored barbecue sauce. There were cherry contests. Yes I said contests. Seed spitting, cherry knot tying, and of course a cherry pie contest (which I would have entered, but I didn’t have any cherries yet). My favorite part was the cherry picking, when all the festivities started to calm down. We headed across the lake to Fat Robins Orchard, and plucked cherries with red-stained fingers until we couldn’t carry anymore. It was pretty much the best day. It makes me happy just reminiscing about it. You would think I would be tired of cherries by now, but that is definitely not the case. I am already excited for cherry festival 2017, but next time I will come prepared with a pie.
HAND-PICKED CHERRY PIE
Serving Size: Makes one pie
- 5 to 6 cups sweet cherries, pitted
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- 1 Large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water
Start the filling: In a medium saucepan, combine cherries, granulated sugar, ½ cup water, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds over medium-high heat. Stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently, being careful not to crush the cherries, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.
Start the Crust: Preheat oven to 375° On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough. Saving some for a lattice. Don’t forget to have some fun with this crust Cherry pie deserves a fancy schmancy lattice! That you should brush with a beaten egg, and sprinkle with fancy sugar.
Preheat oven to 375° Bake until golden brown and bubbly, 40-50 minutes. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.