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On President’s Day, why not make a lovely cherry pie in honor of our first president, George Washington?  My favorite version is my own and is the one I bake for my sister Helen as she loves it so dearly–hence the name, “Helen’s Cherry Pie.”  As I just returned from spending Valentine’s Day with her, she’s on my mind.

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But there are a few others who love cherry pie and they know who they are–Kathie and Tom are two who come to mind.  In fact, Tom’s coming next week to visit and it’s his only request.  It’ll be ready. For a complete pie-making and baking lesson, click here for my Pie 101.

Scroll down for recipe, but first a few pictures to give you an overall idea:

Make the dough and roll out the first crust for the bottom of the pie:

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Make the filling and spoon it into the bottom crust, then add the top.

Bake until brown and bubbling and let cool totally before cutting:
Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

helen’s cherry pie–

                        makes one 9 inch pie

Pie Dough**  (or use any double crust recipe)
  • 2 2/3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground sea salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or two sticks), very cold or frozen—cut into pieces about 1 tablespoon (1 ounce) each
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) ice water
2 teaspoons milk, for brushing crust
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling on crust
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Pie Filling:
·        2 15-ounce cans tart cherries in water, drained (not cherry pie filling)
·        ½ cup white, granulated sugar
·        ½ teaspoon finely ground sea salt
·        3 tablespoons flour
·        ½ teaspoon almond extract
·        2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
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Instructions:

               Make the pie dough first:

*Place flour, salt, and cold butter in a food processor or regular bowl.  Using the steel blade, two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour and salt until dough is peppered with several different size pieces of fat and flour.  

*With machine running, or while stirring, pour ice water into dough in a steady stream.  Process or stir (you can use your hands, but the warmth isn’t the best thing for pie dough) until the dough just barely comes together.  Form into a large ball quickly and cut into two even halves.  Wrap each well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

               Make the cherry pie filling and set it aside:
*While dough chills, in a medium bowl stir together all the pie filling ingredients except the two tablespoons of butter.   Set aside.

               Roll out the dough:
 

*Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper on a damp counter.  Flip dough over, roll pin over once, and carefully, steadily lift paper off circle of dough.

*Slip your hands under the paper and, turning the dough over, place it on the pie pan.  Again, carefully peel off the paper and by working quickly and gently with your fingers, fit the dough into the pan.  Don’t stretch the dough.  Leave the excess hanging,  patch holes, torn “corners” with extra dough.  Trim dough so that you have about one inch of overhang.  Pinch or crimp edges.  Brush edges of dough with a little of the milk and sprinkle with just a bit of the one tablespoons of sugar.
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT AND PLACE RACK IN THE CENTER OF THE OVEN.

    Put the filling into the bottom crust:

*Spoon cherry filling into the pie and dot with 2 tablespoons of butter cut into bits.    Roll out the second crust and top the pie with it:
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*Take second piece of dough out of the refrigerator and repeat the rolling out process.  This time, turn the flattened circle of dough upside down (paper side up) onto the waiting, filled pie.  Trim overhang to just a bit more than flush with the edge of the pie plate. Press edges of pie together quickly and crimp to seal.  Brush the top of the pie with the rest of the milk and sprinkle evenly with the rest of the tablespoon of sugar. Cut a few vents into the pie top so steam can escape.  You can make any designs you want, but you should have at least six half-inch slits evenly spaced. 
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             Bake and cool the pie:
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*Place pie on a baking sheet or put a baking sheet on a bottom rack to catch spillovers.  Put pie on center rack of preheated oven. Bake 15 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 and bake until golden and juices are escaping through the vent slits—about 35 minutes.
*Remove pie and cool on rack at least two hours before eating.  Don’t cut until just barely warm or totally cool.  Can be stored, covered, on countertop 2 days.  Refrigerate after that for another two – three days.  Wrap well in foil to store in freezer up to six months.  Let defrost totally while still wrapped.
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**There’s enough dough to make a ten-inch pie.  You will, however need a third can of cherries.  For the filling, increase sugar to 2/3 cup, flour to 4 tablespoons, and almond extract to 3/ 4 teaspoon. (Pie dough recipe is a Pâte brisée recipe from Cuisinart- mid 80′s?)

 Sing a new song,

Alyce

originally posted as Cherry Pie–Constructed and Deconstructed