I’ve always had a soft spot for cherry pie, and I’ve never been too fussy. Last week, the evil marketing team at Target placed a rack of Hostess Cherry Pies in the shoe aisle, and like a total sucker…I bought one for afternoon coffee. Hostess will do in a pinch, but a real cherry pie is a completely different experience.
Michigan is home to the National Cherry Festival up in Traverse City, but the cherry farming extends well into the south. The most common sour cherry is the Montmorency, but my favorite is the hard-to-find Balaton. It was developed here in Michigan by Dr. Amy Iezzoni, and is simply gorgeous. Sour cherries freeze wonderfully, so grab them when in season, pit and freeze. Cherry pie in the middle of winter is quite a treat.
Michigan Cherry Pie
- 6 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries (about 2 pounds)
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground down in a spice grinder
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dash of cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Basic Dairy-Free Double Pie Crust Pastry (recipe below)
- Make the pie crust first, then come back and make the filling while the crust is chilling in the fridge.
- Mix the fruit filling all up and let stand for 30 minutes while the crust chills in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Roll out one disk of dough to be big enough to make a bottom crust and transfer to the pie pan.
- Dump the cherry filling on top.
- Roll out the second disk of dough to be big enough to fit on top.
- Somehow manage to get the top crust onto the pie without using bad words. Trim and crimp the edges, try to fix your holes.
- Cut out some vents with cute cutters, or just some slits with a knife.
- Cover the edges with strips of foil to prevent over-browning. Just do it now, while the pie is cold. Trying to do it when the crust is hot and starting to burn, is on par with peeling pearl onions in terms of kitchen frustration.
- Place the pie on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet (to catch any drips).
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake another 45-60 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and the filling is starting to bubble.
- Allow to cool for a few hours before eating. Tapioca-based fillings thicken as they cool, so don't worry if things look runny while hot.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream!
Basic Dairy-Free Double Pie Crust Pastry
Crust stresses me out, not sure why. The rolling and trying to get the crust into pan without breaking. Not cool. I've made a bazillion pies and I still struggle. But, I've learned that broken crusts tend to heal while baking, and ice cream covers all sorts of imperfections.I use a food processor. If you have a pastry cutter and know how to use it, you're probably better at pie making that I, so you can figure out how to adapt.
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup shortening, sliced into chunks and frozen
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 T. sugar
- Ice water (about 6-8 Tablespoons)
- Dump the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and give it a few pulses to mix things up.
- Dump in half of the sliced shortening. Give it 8 short pulses.
- Dump in the rest of the shortening. Give it another 8 pulses.
- Spoon in 6 Tablespoons of ice water, give it another 8 pulses. Test the dough by pinching a bit of it together. If it seems really crumbly or dry and looks like it might hassle you while rolling it out, add the other 2 T. of water and give a few more pulses.
- Divide into two blobs, wrap in plastic wrap, form into a nice disk and refrigerate until you want to use it or at least an hour.
Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
- 3 cups Silk soy creamer (about 1½ pints)
- 20 regular marshmallows (about ½ bag)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 T. oil ( I used avocado, canola or soy would be fine)
- 1 t. vanilla
- Put the marshmallows in a big microwave safe bowl (I have an 8 cup Pyrex that is perfect for this)
- Heat for 1-2 minutes, until soft and puffy.
- Whisk the soft marshmallows with ½ cup soy creamer until smooth. You may have to return the mixture to the microwave for another minute or so to get the marshmallows to fully melt into the creamer.
- Add the remaining 2½ cups of creamer, sugar and oil. Whisk until smooth and the marshmallows are all melted.
- Cool the mixture down in the freezer or refrigerator before pouring into an ice cream maker to freeze. I have a Cuisinart that is wonderful.