When most Americans think about the 4th of July they congruently think about BBQ’s. What about dessert? I think Cherry Pie is the vintage American treat. Traditionally eaten in midsummer with the harvest of cherries in North America, the culture of Cherry Pie perfectly coincides with America’s Independence Day on July 4th. With that comes the practice of decorating the crust with ornate pastry patterns.
Whenever I think about Cherry Pie and the 4th of July I’m reminded of song….No… It’s not “Cherry Pie” by Warrant…I think of the song “American Pie” – a song by American folk-rock singer and songwriter Don McLean. At the time, the song was released it was apparent that the theme was the 1959 plane crash which killed early rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. Thus, referring to “The Day the Music Died” – the crash was not known by that name until after McLean’s song became a hit. The meaning of the rest of the song and its many characters have been debated over the years, but ultimately it was recently disclosed in the Washington Post that it was about the loss of the American Dream. It’s sort of a sad song, but I take it as more of nostalgia for the bygone eras of great America. I think it is appropriate for our current times, while we enjoy BBQ and Cherry Pie on the 4th of July. So, crank it up and treat yourself to some pie this holiday!
Listen to American Pie on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1gRNBaI4yn6wCCTvRhGWh8
Happy 4th of July!
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, if using sweet cherries use 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon milk
- For crust:
- Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend.
- Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form.
- Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
- Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- For filling:
- Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F.
- Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
- Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.
- Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch.
- Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round.
- Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter.
- Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal.
- Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk.
- Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer.
- Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.
- Cut into wedges and serve.