Sheila’s idea to bake a homemade cherry pie to celebrate Susan’s birthday, was a good one. She and Isaac pitted while I prepared the crust. To be sure, Gillian taste-tested the cherries. Not quite sure what we would have done without this trusty cherry pitter Erin and Sheila found in a bargain bin for 5 bucks. Thanks, West Elm! The kids helped assemble individual cherry pies in ramekins for themselves, which seemed to go over pretty well (especially with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream on top) while I assembled the more adult variety.
makes 5 mini pies + one regular sized pie
3 lbs bing cherries pitted and halved
3/4 cup of sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp cornstarch
sugar for sprinkling
egg wash: 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp water
vanilla bean ice cream for topping (such as Blue Bell)
Pie Crusts (makes equivalent of 2 double crusts)
1 lb of butter
5 cups flour
1 cup ice cold water
2 tsp salt
Do ahead: Pitt cherries and start to prepare your crusts. In a food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine. Add ice cold diced butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add 1/4 cups of water pulsing each time until the mixture becomes a ball of dough. Turn dough out onto floured board and divide into 4 rounded and flat discs, cover each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. When your dough is about chilled start to prepare the filling.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl combine pitted cherries, sugar, lemon juice and corn starch. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together egg yolk and water. Remove crusts from fridge and lay them on a floured board. Roll each into about a 14 inch round. Use pin to transfer to the adult pie pan (9 inch round). There will be an inch of overhang, that’s perfect. Then using a flipped over ramekin as a stencil trace 5 rounds allowing a bit of overhang (1/2 inch) all the way around from the remaining dough. Divide filling among all pie crusts. Then using a pizza cutter or kitchen shears to cut one round into 1.5 inch strips to for a lattice on top of the large pie crust. Crisp sides using fingers or a fork. For the kids: precut small strips and let them design their own top and crimp, fold or smoosh as they see fit along the sides.
Brush pies with a little egg wash before sprinkling with sugar. Then bake on lowest rack for 40 minutes. Tent with foil if the crust gets too brown, turning may help keep the crust cooking evenly. Let sit for a an hour or two before serving with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!