Old-Fashioned Cherry Vanilla Pie

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As I was rummaging through my freezer the other day, I noticed these cherries staring me right in the face. My beautiful tart Door County cherries that I had thrown in there last July with all good intentions. I’m not sure what happened but…

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A whole winter had gone by. How had I not followed through with my plans to pull them out when my thermometer outside registered…well…

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I had no choice. I had to either use them quickly or run smack into the upcoming summer and lose face with myself that I had failed my plan, because there on the market shelf would be the next season’s cherry crop! They only come in for about a month and I snatch them up and use them on everything. I love Door County, WI tart cherries. So I use some in the summer and then freeze….well…

I don’t like failing my plans. I’d rather be able to blame someone else on plans failing. This I knew, I couldn’t get out of, so….

I got busy

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I haven’t made any other Cherry Pie since I got this recipe out of Gourmet Magazine back in July of 1997. I’m not sure how you could even improve upon this one. I’ve even made this with sweet cherries and it was just as incredible. 

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Make sure to use something underneath to catch the drips! Here are two examples of drip guards specifically made for pies. One was my mother’s (the one on the left) and the new kind you can find in the kitchen stores today.

Pie Guard #1

I use my mother’s.  🙂  See all the love oozing out of this old pan? …

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After about 10 minutes in the oven, I put a crust guard on to prevent the edges from getting too brown. There are many kinds you can find, even lighter silicone ones. Sure beats the heck out of fumbling around with tin foil!

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Old-Fashioned Cherry Vanilla Pie

Gourmet | July 1997

Yield: Makes 1 pie

For dough

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening

5 to 7 tablespoons ice water

For cherry filling

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries (about 3 1/2 pints fresh, picked over)

2 tablespoons vanilla

1 tablespoon sugar

Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream

Make dough:

Cut butter into pieces. In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse together flour, salt, butter, and shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and toss or pulse just until mixture forms a dough, adding additional ice water, a little at a time, if dough is too dry. Divide dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.

Make filling:

In a small bowl stir together sugar, tapioca, salt, and cinnamon. In a large heavy skillet cook fresh or frozen cherries over moderately high heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer cherries to a heatproof bowl. Add sugar mixture to cherry juices in skillet and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir cherry sauce and vanilla into cherries and cool.

Line lower rack of oven with foil and preheat oven to 400° F.

On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out 1 piece dough into an 11-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick). Fit dough into a 9-inch (1-quart) pie plate, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Pour filling into shell and chill, loosely covered with plastic wrap.

On a lightly floured surface roll out remaining dough into an 11-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick) and with a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel cut into 1-inch-wide strips. Working on a sheet of wax paper set on a baking sheet, weave pastry strips in a close lattice pattern. Chill or freeze lattice on wax paper on a flat surface 20 minutes, or until firm. Brush edge of filled shell with cold water and slide lattice off wax paper and onto pie. Let lattice stand 10 minutes to soften. Trim edges flush with rim of pie plate and crimp decoratively. Gently brush lattice top with cold water and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pie in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling just begins to bubble, and transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve pie warm with ice cream.

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