Last summer, while visiting a friend, she took me to Emporium Pies, a pie shop in Dallas. Something you should know about me is that I love pie. Sam and I even served pie instead of cake at our wedding. I’m ‘team pie’ all the way. Needless to say, I was jazzed about going to a shop that served only pie. A dream. And Emporium Pies did not disappoint. They had fantastic flavor combinations and all types of pie: cream pies, fruit pies, chocolate pies, sugar pies. I left with several slices because #vacation, #research.
Everything was amazing, but of all the pies I tried, their cherry pie stood out. It was so good that if I could have figured out a way to bring it back to England with me, I most certainly would have. I shouldn’t have been surprised, I’ve always loved cherries, but I can’t remember ever having cherry pie until last summer! Crazy. Somehow all the cherries that made it into the house always made it from my hand to my mouth before landing in a pie.
All that’s changed. I’ve been throwing yummy British cherries in pies around here for weeks. I’ve scoured the internet for an Emporium Pies cherry pie recipe. I failed. Sadly, it remains a mystery. So I set out to develop my own recipe. I’ve been tweaking my recipe for the filling, and I’ve finally found something I really like. Here’s why.
In all my testing of an embarrassing number of pies, I’ve found a few things that have really helped give an edge to this recipe. First, I like a filling that’s pre-cooked a little on the stove before nestling the cherries between two crusts. Pre-cooking the filling helps the cherry juices thicken just enough in the final pie product. It won’t set like a gelatin mold, but it is also won’t run all over your kitchen counter. Second, I use sweet cherries with a modest amount of sugar because it is impossible to find sour cherries. Third, I use a mix of granulated and light brown sugars. The brown sugar gives just enough richness to the filling without that killer sweet punch. Finally, I finish the filling with a little bit of lemon zest to brighten the whole thing up.
This pie is almost as perfect as the pie I had last summer that made me fall for cherry pie. So grab those perfect summer cherries, try not to eat them all, and get baking!
If you like this recipe for Cherry Pie, you might also like:
For the Cherry Pie Filling
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 lbs. fresh cherries, pitted (you want 2lbs. after pitting)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Putting the Pie Together
- 1 batch all-butter pie dough (recipe below)
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/2 tablespoon coarse sugar*
Make the Pie Filling
First make the pie filling. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt and cornstarch. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, combine the water and lemon juice over medium heat. Whisk the dry ingredients into the liquid in the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add in the cherries and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thickened and looks clear and not foggy, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, remove from the heat and let cool.
Put the Pie together & Bake
Once the filling is almost cool, remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of pie dough to a rough 12 inch circle. Place this dough in a 9" pie plate and gently press it into the corners of the plate. Place this in the fridge to re-chill while you roll out the next piece of dough. Roll this piece of dough into a rough 12" circle. Cut the dough into 1 1/2-2"wide strips to make a lattice top.
Remove the pie pan from the fridge. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Place 3-4 strips of your top dough vertically the pie. Then, place the remaining strips horizontally, one at a time lifting every other vertical strip to create a lattice topping.
For the finished edges, I like to use a traditional crimped edge. To do so, press gently all the way around the pie to be sure that the top and bottom crusts are sticking together. Trim the dough until there is just about an inch of dough all the way around. I like to use a pair of kitchen shears for this. Then, fold the dough up on itself all the way around. Using your thumb and fingers, crimp the edge all the way around the pie. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Place the pie in fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the dough chill back down. Preheat the oven 425 degrees Fahrenheit while the pie is chilling.
Place the pie on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and continue to back for 15-30 more minutes. The pie is done once the top is golden and the cherry juices are bubbling.
Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack. At least 2 hours. I prefer to let it cool over night. The pie will keep for 2 days at room temperature or 4 days in the fridge. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or just a drizzle of cream!
*I use demarara sugar because it gives the crust a nice crunch, but you can use granulated sugar if you'd like.
All-Butter Pie Dough
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes and very cold (I cut my butter and then pop the cubes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to get them really cold)
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water (you may need a little more or less depending on where you live)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Toss the cold butter cubes in the flour until they are coated in flour. Start working the butter into the flour, using your hands to really rub the flour and butter together. Rub pieces of the butter between your fingers into thinner pieces, drop these bits back into the bowl of flour, and repeat. Do this until all your butter pieces are broken down into pieces no bigger than a nickel. Some of your butter pieces will be smaller and that's fine.
Make a well in the center of your bowl and add four tablespoons of the water. Use one hand with your fingers spread out (as though your were holding a big grapefruit) to drag flour into the water. Keep moving your hand around the bowl bringing the dough together. As the dough begins to come together add a little more water at a time. continuing to bring it together with your hand. You want to stop adding water when the dough is shaggy, moist, and still a bit loose. It should NOT feel sticky or tacky!
Tip the dough out onto a clean countertop and lightly knead it a few times into two discs. Wrap each disc tightly in plastic wrap. Place one in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. I like to make the dough the day before I plan to make pie and let it sit in the fridge overnight.