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Making at least one ruby-hued cherry pie is high on our summer to-do list. But we're not talking just any cherry pie. This cherry pie is the one to make, featuring a lightly sweetened filling that lets the fresh cherries shine and a gorgeous lattice crust that absolutely anyone can master.
The best part? You can use this pie's easy, foolproof formula to make just about any stone fruit pie you please this summer, from peach to plum to nectarines (or a blend of all three). Plus, we'll teach you how to make the filling in advance, and store it until it's time for pie.
Cherries are divided into two categories: sweet and tart. Sweet cherries -- Bing and Rainier -- are among the most popular and the variety you're most likely to find fresh in the grocery store. Sour cherries are harder to find fresh (most are canned for pie filling), so this pie is developed for fresh cherries. If you do happen to get your hands on sour cherries, increase the sugar called for by at least 1/4 cup.
Frozen cherries can also be used for this pie. Just thaw them completely before starting the filling.
The most lovable part of cherries -- their lush, ruby-red juices -- is also what causes sogginess in pie. While firmer, less juicy fruits, like apples, can simply be sliced, tossed with sugar and flour or cornstarch and added directly to the pie shell, stone fruits like cherries, peaches and plums need to be pre-cooked to draw out their juices and thicken them into a jammy filling. This helps keep the pie crusts crisp and ensures the filling is sliceable instead of runny.
Before you ask, you can make the filling in advance. Cook the filling on the stovetop, cool it for an hour at room temperature, and then transfer it to an airtight container for up to one week in the fridge. You can also freeze the filling for up to one month, but be sure to thaw it slowly in the fridge or at room temperature before baking. Reheating the filling from frozen can cause the cornstarch to break.
The sublime beauty of pie is the contrast between its lush, gooey filling and the crisp, flaky crust. Whether you make pie dough from scratch or buy pre-made crusts from the grocery store, four things will keep it crisp-tender as it bakes.
1. Cook juicy fillings. As I mentioned above, cooking the juicy fruit on the stovetop traps the juices into the filling so they don't run out in the oven. It only takes 10 minutes.
2. Brush the bottom crust with egg wash. Brushing the empty pie crust with egg wash creates a protective barrier between the raw dough and the filling. You'll brush the remaining egg wash onto the top crust for a shiny, golden finish.
3. Make a lattice or heavily vented crust. Fruit pies with a double crust (meaning it has both a bottom and top crust) need good ventilation. The steam created in the oven needs to escape for the filling to thicken properly, and releasing that steam prevents the bottom crust from getting soggy. A classic lattice crust provides plenty of ventilation, but you can also use a small cookie cutter to make circular, decorative vent holes, instead.
4. Bake the pie on a preheated baking sheet. A blast of heat on the bottom of your pie pan right as the pie goes into the oven will quickly help brown and cook the bottom crust. Bonus? It will catch any drips from the juicy filling.
Your fresh cherry pie will be at its most sliceable after it's cooled completely -- about four hours on a cooling rack. If warm pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is your goal, cool the pie for just about two hours, but don't expect a perfect slice. Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap (or a clean kitchen towel). Store at room temperature and eat within three days.
For the filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 pounds (about 4 1/2 cups) fresh sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the pie:
1 (14- to 16-ounce) package prepared pie crusts, thawed if frozen (or 2 homemade pie crusts)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, such as Demerara
1. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a large saucepan. Add the cherries, vanilla and salt, and toss to coat in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. Cook over medium-high heat until the cherries begin to break down and the mixture begins to simmer and thicken slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat to cool slightly while you prepare the crust, or move to an airtight container for longer term storage in the refrigerator or freezer.
3. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven, set a baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 375 F. Unroll one of the pie doughs, and transfer it to a 9-inch standard pie pan. Press the dough into the bottom and along the sides of the pie plate, being careful not to puncture the dough.
4. Whisk the egg and water together with a fork in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Brush the inside of the pie crust with a thin layer of the egg wash (save the remaining for brushing the top crust). Pour the cooled filling into the crust.
5. Make a lattice top crust. Unroll the second pie dough, and lightly flour the surface. Cut into 1-inch wide strips. Transfer every other strip to the top of the pie, spacing them evenly. Create a lattice pattern by alternating and folding in the remaining strips.
6. Brush the lattice crust and edges of the pie dough with the egg wash, and then sprinkle generously with the coarse sugar.
7. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet, and bake until the filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes. If the edges of the pie crust are browning too quickly, cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
8. Transfer the pie to a wire cooling rack and cool completely before slicing, about 4 hours.
Recipe notes: The pie can be made one day in advance. Cover the pie and store at room temperature for up to three days.
This article is written by Meghan Splawn from The Kitchn and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.