Anniversary Cherry Pie

Tomorrow is my twelfth wedding anniversary. It doesn’t seem possible, but I’ve done the math. Twelve years of marriage. Holy cow.

Originally, I was going to call this “Apology Cherry Pie,” because when I saw the cherries at the grocery store, I thought a pie would be a good way to tell my husband I was sorry for the fight I started last night.

Cherry pie is his favorite, and a year or two ago I came up with a recipe that impressed him enough to say the filling was better than canned. (Of course it was–canned cherries are crap. But this is not the attitude of an apologetic person… and if you like canned cherries, you are totally entitled to your opinion. Personally, I’m not a huge cherry fan in general, so I’m not the best person to ask.) This is a version of that recipe, slightly adjusted because

  • I didn’t write the original recipe down and
  • my daughter found a green apple on the counter and insisted it should go into the pie–which, considering the sweet and sour nature of the filling, I thought was a pretty good idea.

This pie is all about balance, just like any good marriage. Sweet and sour, fruity and buttery–even more proof (if you need any) that opposites attract. It’s a pie we both enjoy–him in the eating, me in the making. Making pie dough and pitting cherries are about the closest I get to meditation. This pie is a sensory bonanza–the colors, the textures, the smells. It is a labor of love–allow at least two hours to make it, especially if you’re making your own dough. Of course, you could thaw frozen cherries and it would be just fine, but I think you’ll enjoy making it more if you head out in search of fresh fruit–especially if you can get it from a farmer’s market or roadside stand. Buy more cherries than you think you need–what doesn’t get snacked on, you can freeze for later. (And if you’re going local, organic, etc, there will be some squishy/bruised/moldy berries in your bag–that’s just the way life is. And marriage, really. You just have to pick around the bad ones and appreciate the perfect red jewels where you find them. Gosh, this pie is such a metaphor…)

All right, that’s enough rigamarole. Here’s the recipe:

Anniversary Cherry Pie

2 pounds sweet cherries, pitted and stemmed
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup all purpose flour
the zest of one small lemon

Your favorite pie dough (enough for a top and bottom crust)

1 egg white, slightly beaten
Granulated or coarse sugar, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 375F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough for the bottom of your pie and lay it in the pie pan, trimming the edges. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.

In a large pot, over medium-high heat, combine the filling ingredients and bring to a boil for at least one minute, stirring constantly, until the mixture is fairly thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

Roll out the dough for the top crust and cut it into strips for a lattice, or whatever shape you prefer for a cherry pie. Heart-shaped cutouts would be cute, considering it’s an “anniversary” pie.

Remove the pie crust from the fridge and brush the inside of the crust with the egg white. (This will seal the crust and help you avoid the ever-dreaded soggy bottom.) Ladle the slightly cooled filling into the crust and apply the top crust, crimping the edges to attach the top to the bottom. Brush the top crust with the rest of the egg white and dust with sugar.

Bake at 375, on the middle rack of your oven, for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes, checking the pie for color frequently in the last half hour. Once the pie is a lovely golden brown, place a cookie sheet on the top rack of the oven to shield the pie from the heat. (This is like putting tinfoil on top, but unlike foil the pan won’t stick to your pie.) Your nose will tell you when the pie is done. Also, the filling should be bubbling and the top crust should look fully cooked.

Cool completely on a wire rack.

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