The band Warrant said it best, this cherry pie “tastes so good it will make a grown man cry”!
She’s my cherry pie ! If you lived through the age of hair bands and glam metal (or ever frequented a strip club) there’s no doubt you’re familiar with this song. It’s the epitome of late 80’s cheesiness….big, teased, crunchily hair-sprayed hair, uncomfortably tight leather pants, and bad, bad music. And I have such a soft spot for it.
The 80’s were the best/worst decade to live through…from terrible fashion, to amazing teen-angst movies, to music that was so embarrassingly bad it was good. I can recite every line from the Breakfast Club, still carry a torch for Jake Ryan, and wanted to be as glamorous as Tawny Kitaen or Kelly LeBrock when I grew up. My kids never laugh harder than when I show them photos from my high school days. I could have singlehandedly kept Aqua Net in business and don’t get me started on my proclivity for shiny, pale pink lipsticks (hello silver city pink).
Hostess cupcakes, twinkies and fruit pies were all the rage in the 80’s as well, but my parents never really bought them for us (although the occasional Entenmann’s cake managed to sneak in). My mom baked frequently…pineapple or oatmeal cookies, spice cake, banana bread, and Italian anise flavored cakes that paired well with a cup of strong coffee. I also remember her cutting butter and shortening into flour for pie crust on the weekends or for holidays. She taught me her recipe for foolproof pie crust (that I’ve since adapted) and how to roll out the dough for homemade pies. She baked apple and pumpkin pies in the fall and lemon or cherry in the summer. While she favored comstock filling for her cherry pies, I now prefer a less sweet, slightly tart filling.
There’s no disputing that fresh cherries are the best for pies, but their season is short and sadly, months away. Instead for today’s cherry pie I use canned pitted tart cherries sweetened with sugar and flavored with a splash of cherry liqueur. I made this pie extra special for Valentine’s Day by getting cute with the crust. I rolled out the top crust and punched out little hearts with some heart-shaped cutters. After brushing the pie with egg wash, I added some hearts to the edge. A simply vented crust or a lattice works just as well, but since we’re getting close to the sweetest of holidays, I figured a little extra love was in order.
Are you baking something special for your valentine this week? Here’s a little more sweet inspiration from the What Should I Make For… archives:
Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 8 oz unsalted butter, very cold (2 sticks)
- 2 Tbsp shortening, very cold
- ½ cup ice water
- 3 14.5 oz cans pitted tart cherries, drained and reserving 1/2 cup juice
- 3/4 cup sugar (+ 1 Tbsp )
- 4 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp kirsch liqueur
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream or 1 egg beaten with a little water
- 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to mix.
Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 -12 times until the fat is cut into the flour mixture and it's pea size.
Pour in about ⅔ of the ice water and pulse a few more times until a ball begins to form, adding more water as needed. Be careful not to overmix. The dough should not be completely blended, it will come together on the counter.
Scrape dough onto the counter, divide it in two and form into two flat discs. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the reserved cherry juice, sugar, cornstarch, salt and liquor in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a minute or two until slightly thickened. Stir in the cherries and cool to room temp.
Roll out one disc of dough to ⅛ inch thickness between lightly floured sheets of wax paper and lay into the bottom of a pie plate. Trim the edges.
Pour the cherry filling into the prepared pie shell.
Roll out the other disc of dough to ⅛ inch thickness between lightly floured sheets of wax paper and lay over the cherry filling. Trim, fold over the edges and crimp. Cut a few slices in the top to vent. Brush with heavy cream or egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Alternatively, make a lattice or decorative cut-out crust.
Place the pie on a lined baking sheet to catch any juices and bake at 400 degrees for about 50 mins - 1 hour or until the pie filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. If the pie begins to brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil.
Let the pie cool on a wire rack for several hours so the filling can thicken and set.
- Dough can also be frozen for several weeks. Defrost in refrigerator before proceeding.
- Store pie loosely covered with aluminum foil at room temperature.