This is Part 1 of 2 Thanksgiving pie posts coming at you in the next couple of weeks. Good news: they can just as easily be Christmas pies (if you don’t make the one true Christmas dessert: Chocolate Trifle), so keep these on hand as the holiday parties start piling up. Also, I’ve done a little bit of test kitchen work on these, trying out different pie crust recipes and combining some filling recipes to figure our what works well together. The results were pretty good, and have made for some tasty breakfasts in the Thanksgiving aftermath.
Starting with the cherry pie, for which I have better pictures. (Shout out to the Federmans for letting me make a mess of their kitchen with my experimenting!)
For this pie crust, I went with a butter/shortening mix and added some vodka, with the goal of creating a crust that was easy to work with right out of the fridge. First, in a food processor, pulse together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, salt, and sugar. Then, add the butter and shortening, and process for about 15 seconds, until dough just starts to come together. Finally, add the remaining cup of flour and pulse to incorporate. Turn dough into a large bowl. Pie crust is the number one reason you should buy a food processor. It makes a world of difference, and makes pies about 800% less of a hassle.
Anyways, sprinkle the vodka and water over the dough and fold in with a rubber spatula. Divide the dough into two pieces and flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. I made the dough the day before the rest of the pie to save time on Thanksgiving morning – it would keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but any more than that, you should freeze it.When you’re ready to assemble the pie, put the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl and let sit while you prepare the crust. Take one of the pie dough disks and roll out into an even circle a little bigger than your pie plate. Flip into the pie plate and do any dough surgery necessary to try to even out the edges. This one doesn’t have to be perfect because you’ll be adding a top lattice work, which can fill in any glaring gaps and distract from the messiness by its own impressiveness.
Pour the cherries into the crust. Roll out the second pie dough piece, equally as thin as the first, and roughly in a circle again. Cut into strips and weave into a lattice over the cherries. To make sure the lattice work is flush with the base pie crust, use a little dab of water under each strip to join it to the edge.
Finally, whisk together an egg and a tablespoon of milk to make a quick egg wash and brush it over the lattice work generously, topping with coarse ground sugar. Emil, who’s favorite pie is cherry pie, helped me out on this one. Bake the pie on a baking sheet at 400°F for 20 minutes before turning down the oven to 375°F and baking for an additional 30 minutes. To protect the crust from getting too brown, after the first 20 minutes you can put some tin foil around the edges.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Pro tip: this pie goes really well with pistachio ice cream. It may seem a little strange or nontraditional, but I would definitely give it a shot.
Store the pie at room temperature, lightly covered, and continue to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it’s gone.
Classic Cherry Pie
Vodka Pie Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into slices
- 1/2 cup shortening, chilled and cut into slices
- 1/4 cup vodka, cold
- 1/4 cup water, cold
Cherry Pie Filling:
- 2 cups cherries, pitted
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the crust, begin by pulsing together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor.
- Add the butter and shortening and process for about 15 seconds, until the dough begins to come together.
- Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse about 5 times to combine. Transfer the dough into a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the dough with the vodka and water. Use a rubber spatula to fold in.
- Divide the dough in two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into disks, and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 2 days.
- When you’re ready to make the pie, combine the cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes.
- Take one of the pie dough disks and roll out on a floured surface until thin and a larger circle than your pie plate. Transfer into pie plate.
- Fill pie plate with cherry mixture. Roll out other disk of dough to about the same size and slice into strips.
- Weave strips into a lattice over cherries and attach to edges with dabs of water.
- Whisk together an egg with a tablespoon of milk to make a quick egg wash. Brush over lattice work and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking for 30 minutes. After first 20 minutes, cover edges with aluminum foil to protect from getting too brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack before serving.