Lattice-Top Cherry Pie
Week Fifteen: Norman Rockwell’s Americana Pie
The passing of Labor Day marks the end of the first quasi-official, sorta famous, kinda educational, and highly caloric Summer of Pie. Well, I don’t know about you, but I had fun. Fifteen completely unique pies in as many weeks. Wow. Mission accomplished.
I decided I should end things with something really traditional. I ended up torn between apple and cherry pie, with cherry pie edging the former out by being a. my niece’s favorite and b. a more common recipient of the lattice-top treatment. The fact that I’ve never done a lattice-top and was sure it would drive me insane were more than enough reasons to give it a go. As it turned out, it really wasn’t too tricky at all and held together very nicely when sliced (as well as making for a very attractive presentation).
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment here to offer a BIG thank you my friends who put up with my art major lunacy and helped me recreate Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want” (see pic above and comparison at the end of this entry). This pie was just so old school America, and nothing’s more old school America than Rockwell. You guys are awesome, patient, and willing to be paid in food — excellent traits all.
So what now? Well, the Summer of Pie proved more popular than I thought. I’m going to be teaching a continuing education class on pie making this October (if you’re in the Madison area, stay posted for more information), and I’ve decided the Summer of Pie definitely needs a Winter Edition, there’ll be more to come for sure. I’m certainly not going to stop baking or cooking anytime soon, so keep checking in. And if nothing else, I hope you join me back here next Memorial Day for Summer of Pie 2: The Wrath of Ganache.
LATTICE-TOP CHERRY PIE
(adapted from “The New York Times Cookbook” by Craig Claiborne)
Butter Pastry Shell
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2/3 cup ice-cold water, approximately
Mix flour and salt in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 10 to 15 seconds. Slowly add water until mixture begins to stick together (it should look crumbly, but stick together when you squeeze a small amount into a ball). Turn out dough onto plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Divide into two balls making one slightly larger than the other. Wrap both tightly in plastic, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days (can be frozen when wrapped additionally in foil for up to 3 months).
5 cups dark sweet cherries, pitted (if frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then drain excess liquid from the fruit)
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp Kirsch or brandy
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Combine cherries and 3/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl; sprinkle with the Kirsch or brandy. Allow to stand for 1-2 hours, tossing occasionally.
Drain the cherries. Measure the drained syrup and, if necessary, add water to make 3/4 cup liquid. Place 1/2 cup of the syrup in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir the tapioca into the remaining 1/4 cup of syrup. Pour the hot syrup into the blended syrup and return to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for assembly.
Pie dough disks
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp large crystalized sugar
All ingredients prepared so far
9” pie pan
Preheat oven to 350°.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion of dough into a 15” circle. Carefully place in ungreased pan (I find it easiest to “roll up” the dough around the pin and then unroll it over the pan); ease the dough carefully down the sides and bottom of the pan pressing it lightly into the bottom edge. Trim dough (with kitchen scissors) to leave only 1″ overhang. Dust bottom of pie with flour and cinnamon.
Set aside while you roll out the top crust.
Roll out remaining dough to 10” circle. With a pizza cutter, slice dough into 3/4″ wide strips.
Place drained cherries into the bottom pie shell and pour the hot syrup over them. Moisten the rim of the bottom crust with water and place a strips of dough across the middle to form a “+”. Working your way out from the middle continue to lay strips of dough, spaced about 1/2″ apart, weaving the strips in and out of each other in a simple basket weave pattern until entire top of the pie is covered. Trim overhang and press gently into the bottom crust to seal.
To finish, tuck overhanging dough of the bottom crust under itself so that folded edge is flush with rim of pan and edge stand up over the top of the pan. Flute the edges with your fingers.
Beat together egg and water, brush gently over top crust and edges; sprinkle sugar on top.
Set on jelly roll pan and bake for 45 minutes or until top crust has turned golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on rack for at least 2-3 hours, serve warm or cold.