For the Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
For Cherry Filling
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups (approximately 2 1/2 - 3 pounds) fresh or frozen pitted tart cherries, rinsed and pitted
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For Topping Pie
1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Serve with: (optional)
Vanilla ice cream, Whipped Cream or Non-dairy whipped topping (thawed)
For the Crust:
Cut butter into pieces. In a bowl with a pastry blender or in a food processor blend or pulse together flour, salt, butter, and shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 5 tablespoons ice water and toss or pulse just until mixture forms a dough, adding additional ice water, a little at a time, if dough is too dry. Divide dough in half and flatten each piece into a disk. Chill dough in refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.
For the Filling:
In a small bowl stir together sugar, tapioca, cornstarch, salt, and ground cinnamon. In a large heavy skillet cook fresh or frozen cherries over moderately high heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer cherries to a heatproof bowl. Add sugar mixture to cherry juices in skillet and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir cherry sauce and vanilla extract into cherries and let cool.
Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C). Remove chilled dough discs from refrigerator. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each disc into an 11-inch round circle and 1/8 of an inch thick. Line a 9-inch (23cm) pie plate with one crust and prick all over with a fork. Spoon the cherry filling evenly into the crust. Dot all over with the cut-up pieces of butter. Cover with the top crust. With water, moisten the top and bottom crusts where they meet, then turn the top crust under the bottom crust and flute the edges. Cut 5 - 6 slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Sprinkle 1 - 2 teaspoons sugar over top of pie. If desired, decorate top of pie by rolling out the remaining scraps of dough, and cutting several cherry, leaf or stem shapes.
Place pie on a baking sheet (to catch drippings) and bake pie on middle rack of oven at preheated 400° F (200°C) for 15 minutes. Place pie shield or pieces of aluminum foil around edges of pie to prevent over browning of crust. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F (180°C), and continue to bake for 45 -50 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling just begins to bubble. Transfer pie to a rack to cool completely (at least 3 - 5 hours). If desired, serve pie with ice cream, whipped cream or non-dairy whipped topping (thawed).
Note: If pressed for time, you may use store-bought ready made pie crusts instead of making pie crusts from scratch.
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie, 8 servings.
Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall
Date: June 28, 2003