You’ve probably seen them already. Bins of fresh cherries lining the shelves of roadside stands and at the market are here at last! Cherry season is fleeting, so it’s always best to make the most of these seasonal gems as soon as they arrive. It’s a happy coincidence that cherries and the opening of pie season go hand in hand—especially as one of our favorite methods for making the most of their unique flavor is to enfold them between layers of crisp, flaky pastry.
Fresh, sweet cherries are the stars of this recipe—deep red, plum Bing, light pink or yellow Royal Ann and Rainier, or the bright red, late-blooming Lambert are all good cherries for baking. Select cherries with the stems still attached; once you remove them, the cherries will spoil quickly. To keep them from molding, rinse them just before you plan to use them. Store any cherries you’re not using right away in a shallow container covered with paper towels or a clean cloth. Refrigerate immediately, and eat within 5 days.
Make sure you have a good cherry pitter on hand to make the process of pitting them an easy one. If you’re making the pie crust by hand, a pastry blender is the best tool for cutting butter into flour for a flaky crust, though two kitchen knives will work in a pinch.
Weaving the lattice crust by hand is not difficult once you understand the basic technique (see below). This recipe from The Complete Junior Chef Cookbook describes the method in simple terminology even the novice baker can follow. If you’re the type of cook who likes short-cuts, however, then there’s a collection of lattice pie cutters that will make the job an easy one. In either case, an egg wash finishes the pie with a glossy sheen.
Latticed Cherry Pie
- Double-Crust Flaky Pie Pastry (recipe below) or store-bought rolled pie crusts for 2 standard pies
FOR THE FILLING
- 1 3/4 lb sweet cherries, such as Royal Ann, Bing, or Rainier, pitted
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon whole or low-fat milk
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
1. MAKE THE PASTRY DOUGH
Make the pastry dough and refrigerate as directed. If using store- bought pastry dough, keep refrigerated until needed.
2. ROLL OUT THE DOUGH & LINE THE PIE PAN
Place 1 dough disk on a lightly floured surface; keep the remaining disk in the refrigerator. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Fold the dough round in half, then into quarters, and transfer it to a 9-inch pie pan, positioning the point at the center. Unfold the dough, press it into the pan, and trim the edges flush with the pan rim. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3. MAKE THE FILLING
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix the cherries, sugar, and flour.
4. MAKE THE LATTICE TOP
Place the remaining dough disk on the lightly floured work surface and roll out into round about 11 inches in diameter. Using a small knife or a pastry wheel, cut into strips about 1 inch wide. Remove the pastry shell from the freezer and turn the cherry mixture into it. Weave the strips over the cherry filling to form a lattice (see below). Trim the edges flush with the pan rim and crimp to seal and form an attractive edge. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk and milk. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the egg mixture.
5. BAKE & SERVE THE PIE
Bake the pie until the juices bubble thickly and the crust is golden, 1–1 1/4 hours. Let cool on a wire rack before serving. Cut into wedges and accompany each slice with a scoop of ice cream.
Double-Crust Flaky Pie Pastry
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water, or more if needed
In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the water over the top and, using a fork, mix lightly until the dough begins to hold together in large clumps. If the dough is too crumbly, mix in a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Dump the dough onto a work surface and press into a mound. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, then press each half into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Makes dough for one 9-inch double-crust pie.
Recipe excerpted from The Complete Junior Chef Cookbook (Weldon Owen, 2018)