• 4.5 to 5 cups of a mix of sour and sweet cherries canned in water (NOT cherry pie filling)
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or half a juicy lemon)
• 1 level tablespoon of corn starch for every cup of cherries
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup of sugar (or a little less, if you used mostly sweet cherries)
PREPARE THE FILLING
Drain the canned cherries, reserving half the liquid. Put cherries, lemon juice, corn starch, salt, sugar and half of the reserved liquid into a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and juice looks somewhat transparent. Set aside to cool
PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS
• 2 1/2 cups flour (either white or a mixture of whole wheat and white)
• 2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) butter cut into little tiny cubes, and chilled very, very well (Note: you may use solid vegetable shortening instead, but do not use oil)
• 2 tablespoons powered sugar
• approx. ½ cup icey-cold water.
MAKE THE CRUST (you can use your favorite, but this is the one I like)
Mix the sugar, flour, salt in a large bowl. Cut the little cubes of cold butter into the flour either with a pastry blender or a food processor until the butter is the size of small peas. Do not over mix--it's the little chunks of butter that make the pastry flaky.
Sprinkle the cold water over the butter-flour mixture a little at a time, stirring gently with a fork, using as little water as necessary until the dough starts to gather into a ball. Again, do not over mix, as this will cause the crust to be tough.
Divide the dough roughly in half, and form each half into a flattened ball. Roll out each ball into a circular crust slightly larger than you pie pan.
ASSEMBLE THE PIE
Drape one of the crusts over your pie pan, making sure it covers the edges. Pour the cherry filling into the pie pan and distribute smoothly. Carefully roll the top crust over the top of the pie, and roll under and crimp the top and bottom crusts together, then flute. You may cut decorative slashes in the top crust with a very sharp knife. Sprinkle the top lightly with granulated or crystal sugar.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees at least 10 minutes before you're ready to bake. Bake the pie for about 50 minutes, or until the crust is all golden brown. Let the pie cool for at least 30 minutes.
• 1 package softened cream cheese
• 1 tablespoon Amaretto or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 2 tablespoons powdered suga
Whip together the cream cheese, almond or Amaretto flavoring and sugar. Put a dollop on each slice of pie (when it is still warm). Yum!
Many thanks to the author TERRIN NI for inspiration!