Best Cherry Pie Recipe For National Cherry Pie Day
February 20th is National Cherry Pie Day, and we’re honoring both the holiday and home baker Jean Van’t Hul by publishing her recipe for “the best cherry pie ever.” Like all good cooks, Jean has worked on this recipe for years, adapting recipes from prominent sources like Rose Levy Beranbaum and Cook’s Illustrated.
Jean notes that her recipe uses cherries canned in water. “not that dreadful canned cherry pie filling.”
By the way, we’re not sure why National Cherry Pie Day is February 20th and not February 22nd, George Washington’s birthday. But if you bake a cherry pie today, bake an extra one to celebrate the 22nd.
> The history of cherries.
For The Pie Crust
1. MAKE the pie crust. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor (or use a pastry blender). Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times. Cut the shortening into smaller pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse a few more times, until butter and shortening are the size of peas or smaller. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. SPRINKLE 3-4 tablespoons of ice water over the dough mixture at a time, mixing and pressing with a sturdy rubber spatula until the dough comes together. Divide into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap. (Tip: Dump the semi-formed dough onto plastic, wrap it up, knead it a bit until it forms a ball, then flatten it into a disk.) Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. MIX the 3 cans of cherries plus the juice from 1-1/2 cans with sugar, cornstarch, salt, and almond extract in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the liquid is thick and bubbly (partially jelled). Set aside to cool.
4. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place it on a lower rack, to catch any drips.
5. SPRINKLE the counter with flour and roll out the bottom pie crust. Arrange in a pie pan. Pour the cooled pie filling into the crust.
6. ROLL out the top crust. Use a sharp knife to cut the top crust into strips for a lattice crust or use a cookie cutter to make other designs. Either drape your top crust over the pie, if you used a cookie-cutter design, or weave your traditional lattice crust (here’s a YouTube video).
7. TRIM the edges of the top and bottom crust to 1/2-1-inch beyond the pie pan and then fold them under. Either press around the perimeter with the tines of a fork or crimp it with your fingers.
8. BRUSH the crust with a beaten egg white (or cream) and sprinkle sugar on top.
9. BAKE for 20 minutes at 425°F, then lower the oven temperature to 375°F and add a pie crust shield (or a foil tent with the center cut out) to protect the outer edges of the crust from burning. Bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust looks nicely browned and the juices bubble up thickly.
10. REMOVE the pie from the oven and let cool for 3 hours or so before eating, so the filling will gel properly. Garnish as desired and serve.