With Christmas only a couple of days away & celebrations already underway, it seemed only fitting to share with you a cherry pie recipe that has been in my family for 60 years. This is the easiest pie you’ll ever make, & dare I say, the best. This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. To eat & to make. For starters, there’s no rolling of pastry. And it’s make ahead – perfect for the holiday season.
Butter is rubbed into the flour mixture then pressed into a greased pie dish. It’s chilled for a few then baked on a low heat (another difference in this pie versus your regular garden-variety pies). There’s no lining the pastry with silicon baking paper & beans. Nope, I told you, this is so easy.
No waiting for the pastry to cool down before adding the filling either. Pitted cherries are scattered onto the base. Frozen cherries or a can of drained. Then it’s just a quick whisking of the filling…
The filling does double-duty as both the filling & the crust. And it’s as easy as dumping flour, sugar, almond extract & a couple of eggs in a bowl, giving them a whisk & pouring the filling into the pie shell.
Don’t even consider leaving the almond extract out. Almond enhances that wonderful cherry flavor. It’s part of what makes this pie so damn good. This was my dad’s favorite dessert until he left us when I was six years old. It fast became my fave & mum would cook it every birthday for me. My family & I have always called it cherry yum-yum pie. Why I know not, apart from the fact that it certainly justifies having more than one yum in the title.
As it bakes, the filling forms a crust on the top & the pastry base becomes wonderfully crisp. It might look unassuming, but your first bite will tell you otherwise.
Mum always served this cold the next day. She’d leave the pie on the counter to cool for a bit then cover it with foil & pop it in the fridge overnight, making this a perfect make-ahead dessert. I was a little more hasty in getting the shots taken & I cut into it too early & cracked it’s top. It still tasted fabulous, it just didn’t look as pretty.
The pie, once chilled, cuts easily. The base is really crisp, like no other fruit pie base I’ve ever had. The filling is a little gooey & cake-like – almost creamy. Textures are something I consider of paramount importance as to the success of a recipe, so I’m always aware of that when I develop or test a recipe. Texture. Taste. Looks. And I think the texture of this pie is something that is equally appealing to me as the flavor.
I suppose it looks a little sad not topped with a scoop of ice cream or dolloped with whipped cream or better still – clotted cream. Of all those I’d choose clotted cream. The reason why I didn’t serve it that way in all honesty was because I like it plain. But knock yourself out & serve it with whatever you like. The pie is quite sweet & the reason why I think cream works best as an accompaniment. Something to consider.
Food is joyful & celebratory, especially around the holidays. It brings people together. Enjoy a piece of pie & if, like me you have little to no self control, then send the rest home with your guests, share it with your neighbors or send it to work with your spouse. Merry Christmas to all. Cheers!
- PIE CRUST
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- CHERRY FILLING
- 2 cups pitted dark cherries
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon almond essence
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- Grease a 9 inch (22cm) pie plate.
- To make the pie crust: Whisk flour, sugar & salt together in a medium bowl. Rub butter into flour mixture until is incorporate & dough comes together. Press dough on base and up side of prepared pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- To make the filling: Scatter cherries over pastry (you don’t have to let pastry cool). Whisk remaining ingredients in medium bowl until thick & well combined; pour over berries. Bake on bottom rack in preheated oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until base is golden and filling is set. Let cool before covering & chilling for 4 hours or overnight. Serves 8.