IT IS CHERRY SEASON! Here in Seattle, we are starting to get local Bing cherries that are sweet, plump, ripe, and delicious. Everyone in my house LOVES cherry pie, so who am I to deny them that perfect summer treat? I like to put a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top, and drizzle it with some caramel sauce, but maybe that's just me. ;)
I use alcohol in my pie crust because it evaporates faster than water, and thereby makes the crust flakier. If you are a sober house, there's no risk in skipping the alcohol and just using water.
Depending on the recipe, I may substitute the sugar in the crust for a flavored sugar. I use lemon sugar because I like the way the tang of the lemon offsets the sweetness of the cherries.
Bing Cherry Pie
Prep Time: 2 hours (divided)
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Servings: As many slices as you can get from one pie!
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. sugar (I used lemon sugar for this pie)
½ tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp. very cold water
3 Tbsp. vodka, bourbon, or whiskey (I have also used rum; for this pie, I used bourbon; if you are a sober household, leave out the booze and double the water)
2 plums, halved and pitted
6 cups pitted, halved sweet cherries (or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries), divided
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. instant tapioca, ground
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large egg lightly beaten
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly to blend. Add in the butter pieces and mix on medium-low speed to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are not much bigger than peas. Mix in the cold water and alcohol on low speed just until the dough comes together.
Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (This dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.) Remove from the refrigerator. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface.
Process the plums and 1 cup of the cherries in a food processor or blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain the the puree through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Add the remaining cherries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, tapioca and cinnamon to the bowl. Mix well to combine; let stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and place a baking sheet on an oven rack. Line a 9-inch pie plate with a round of pie dough. Transfer the cherry mixture to the dough-lined pie plate. Scatter the butter pieces evenly over the fruit. Top with the second round of pie dough. For the top layer of the pie crust, you can either use a single piece of crust and cut 6-9 even spaced slits to allow steam to escape, or you can cut strips of the pie dough and use it to create a lattice pattern. Pinch the edges of the dough together in a fluted pattern. Brush the top evenly with the egg wash. Place the pie in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350˚ F and continue baking about 30-40 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature so the filling has time to set up and thicken, 2-3 hours. Slice and serve.