Wednesday's Pie

What isn't to love about pie?  Delicious fruit, a flaky, buttery crust and fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche on top.  Yum!  Last week I went to Whole Foods and found that they had not one but THREE varieties of cherries, including the elusive tart cherries.  I knew it was time to make another cherry pie.

As I mentioned in this post about fava beans, I am not a patient person, and sometimes that manifests itself in me being careless or not taking my time... not the attributes one wants when trying to make a perfect lattice crust.  I made my first cherry pie a few weeks ago and wanted to improve on the appearance of the crust this time around.

This cherry pie recipe was absolutely delicious when made with only Bing cherries.   However, it was even better and the flavor had a lot more depth the second time around when I used not only Bing cherries, but also Rainier and tart cherries.  In particular, the tart cherries really give the pie a different flavor and prevent it from being too sweet.  If you see some of these cherries in your market, snatch them up - they are tangy and great for baking!

 As if having a pie at home wasn't enough, I made a trip today to Wednesday's Pie, a unique, hole-in-the-wall shop on Larimer Square in Denver that is only open on Wednesday and only serves three kinds of pie (selections change each week), coffee and milk.  I love the concept and the pie is tasty.  If you're in Denver and looking for dessert on a Wednesday, definitely stop by... I tried the peach today and it did not disappoint.

Back to MY pie!  I used a recipe from the June 2008 issue of Bon Appétit and modified it only by using a mixture of cherries rather than just tart cherries.  I have a go-to crust recipe, but I risked it and used the Bon Appétit crust recipe with great success.  I also adjusted the sugar because I used a mixture of sweet and tart cherries.  If you use only tart cherries, I'd increase the sugar to 1 cup (rather than 1/2 cup).  If you'd like a few tips on making the perfect lattice top for a pie, the August 2011 issue of Bon Appétit has a step-by-step guide in the back of the magazine and there are plenty of guides and videos online.

Tart Cherry Pie
Adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2008
Yield = 8 servings 


  • 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


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups whole pitted sour cherries or dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries) (using a mixture of tart and sweet cherries yields a delicious result - sugar in this recipe is adjusted for half tart cherries, half sweet cherries)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (if using sour cherries) or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (if using dark sweet cherries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (about) milk
  • Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and crème fraiche


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. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

For filling:
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1/2 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 with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraiche.

Bonus - If you use tart cherries, the pie will be particularly complemented by a dollop of tangy crème fraiche on top.  You can easily make crème fraiche at home - I learned from this post on Alexandra's Kitchen.  Ali's instructions are as follows: To make crème fraîche, place 2 cups heavy cream in bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt or 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Stir to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Stir. Mixture will be nice and thick. Store in the fridge until ready to use.