Amaretti Sour Cherry Pie
Pie cherries, the sour kind, are best for this pie. One tree variety, Montmorency, in Missoula, Montana, are loaded with beautifully ripe fruit right now. I buy them at farmers markets and turn these sour ruby-colored gems into pie. And what a pie this American classic is. It’s got an Italian twist from the addition of a few crushed amaretti cookies.
The cookie crumbs and a bit of almond extract accent the cherriness of the pie. When you buy amaretti, they come wrapped two to a little package. You’ll need three packages for this recipe. Serve the pie plain, or with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen vanilla yogurt. If you can’t find fresh sour pie cherries, canned ones will work just fine in this pie. Drain them well first. Also check the frozen fruit section in your market. Fresh Rainier cherries, which have a delicious background tartness, will also be great in this pie.
Amaretti Sour Cherry Pie
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 10 ounces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold 1 stick, cut into 8 even pieces
- 1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, cold cut into 8 even pieces
- 7 tablespoons ice water plus more, if needed
- 2 pounds fresh sour pie cherries pitted (about 5 cups)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 double amaretti cookies crushed (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To Make the Pastry
- To make the pie crust, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastryblender until the butter is in fairly large pieces, about 1/2-inch.Add the vegetable shortening and, using a chopping motion with thepastry blender, cut the fats into the flour until the mixresembles coarse crumbs. Stop occasionally to scrape off any bitsof fat stuck between the blades of the pastry blender.
- Sprinkle in the ice water gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time,while tossing the flour and fats with a table fork. Add only enough waterto bind the pastry together. Do not add so much that it becomeswet or pasty.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (a flouredcanvas pastry cloth works best). Divide the dough into two pieces,one slightly larger than the other. Gently flatten each half to a 5-inch circle on plastic wrap. Wrap securely and refrigerate for about1 hour. Longer is okay.
- Roll the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch circle. Place the dough into an ovenproof glass 9-inch pie platewithout stretching the dough. Lift and nudge the dough from itsedge going all the way around the pie plate to be sure the dough fits snugly on the bottom and side of the pan. Leave the excess dough hanging over the edge of the plate for now. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
Preparing the Filling and Baking the Pie
- To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the 3/4 cupsugar, tapioca, and salt. Add the cherries (with any accumulatedjuices), crushed amaretti cookies, and almond extract and fold everything togethergently to combine well; set aside 15 minutes. This is to make sure the tapioca has time tohydrate so that it will be able to thicken the filling as the pie bakes.
- Adjust an oven rack to the lowest postion and set a heavy baking sheet on the rack.Preheat the oven to 450˚F .
- Roll the second piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface toan 11-inch circle. Don't worry about rough edges at this point.Spoon the cherry filling into the chilled bottom crust, and distribute thepieces of butter evenly over it. Brush the edges of the overhangingpastry lightly with water. Carefully place the second circle of pastryon top of the cherries, centering it as best you can. Press the edges of dough together firmly, and use kitchen shears to trim away the excess dough, leaving 1/2inch of overhang. Fold this double thickness of pastry under itself to form a standing rim, and flute.
- Cut 4 to 6 slits in the top of the pastry in a spoke pattern with the tip of a small, sharp knife. Brush the top of the pie and edge of the crust with water and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Place the pie on the preheated baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at450˚F. Reduce the temperature to 375˚F and continue baking another 50 to 60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, and the thickened juices bubble up through the slits.
- Cool the pie several hours on a wire rack before serving. You may refrigerate the pie for an hour or two to make sure the filling has set. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.