Sour Cherry Pie (Old Version)
My father planted a sour cherry tree by the side of the house a few years back, and every year he insists that I make him a sour cherry pie. The deal has always been that my brother picks the cherries and I pit and bake the cherries.
The tree has grown enormously in the past year. Sure, when I lived there I used to be able to lean out my bedroom window to pick cherries off the top of the tree, but still, we’ve never had such a yield! My father, my brothers, Dave, and I were all picking and pitting cherries last night, and we had to leave at least half the cherries still on the tree. We’ll do another round of picking next week as the rest ripen. In the meantime, there was a pie, and with the five quarts of cherries and juice left in the pot there will be other sour goodies to come.
All this took place at my parents’ house, so the pie is on the old Singer sewing machine table that they have in the kitchen, and the photo within the photo is of my mother and my youngest brother. The drink is framboise lambic, a sort of a raspberry beer which I cannot recommend enough.
Sour Cherry Pie
For the dough
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 pinch salt
1/2 C cold unsalted butter, in pieces
4 tbsp ice water
For the filling
4 C pitted and drained fresh sour cherries
3 tbsp corn starch
1 pinch salt
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp Wishniak
For the crumblies
1/2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C butter
Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Cut butter into the mixture until the texture is crumbly. Slowly mix in the water until the pastry just comes together. Add more if necessary, but not too much. Gather it into a ball and flatten it to a disk, then chill in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling out.
Butter and flour a relatively shallow pie tin, and line with the rolled out dough. Fill with pie weights and bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and ditch the pie weights.
Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cherries before measuring them – no matter how much liquid you remove, you will still end up with too much remaining. You can use the liquid to make soda or jam. Mix in the other filling ingredients, and then continue to drain as much liquid out as possible as you fill the pie. Wishniak is a sort of cherry liquor; you can substitute Kirsch if necessary.
Make the crumbles by mixing together the non-butter ingredients for the crumblies. Cut butter into the mixture until the texture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the cherries.
Return to the oven and bake for another 50 minutes or so, or until done.
Serve with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. The contrast between the sour pie and sweet ice cream is what really works for me.