Yesterday was the first day of Spring, 2012 and I remembered I had some frozen fruit left over from the Fall farmers market, so I decided to make a pie for a friend who has helped me out these past few months since settling in on the farm.
Things have been tough without Jon since he is finishing up law school. He was just home for his 2 week Spring vacation, which was a lot of fun. Now he's in the home stretch, and I am extremely excited that he will be graduating law school in only 5 weeks: then he's home for good.
We call this pie "Very Berry Pie", and I can't begin to tell you how many people have told us that it's the best pie they've ever had. I have yet to enter it into a pie contest but you better believe that I will soon, and I am pretty sure I could take first place. We made this recipe for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even just as a dessert for having guests over.
You can serve it warm, or even with vanilla iced cream on top, and it will NEVER disappoint. This is one of those recipes that seems like it may be hard to make from the photos, because it looks like a work of art. In reality it's so easy to make, and it has come out flawlessly every single time we've made it.
The greatest thing about this recipe is you can prepare all of the different components (the crust, filling and topping) separately the day before, and then just put them together when you're ready to make the pie!
If you decide to go this route, I highly recommend shaping the crust into the pie pan and placing it in the freezer, so that all you need to do the next day is pour in the filling and top it all off with crumble! Just remember to refrigerate the crumble and filling while waiting to assemble, and let them come to room temperature before baking, so that the baking time isn't thrown off.
We have adapted this recipe so many times over the years to help it evolve into a pie so mouth watering you and your dinner mates will just keep wanting more. It's got the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, salty and butteryness (which isn't a word, but should be!), and the crust and topping are absolutely to die for. This is not one of those cheap supermarket cherry pies.
You can use fresh or frozen fruit and I can guarantee you will love this cherry pie, even if you've disliked them in the past. This one will change your mind for sure. Jon told me that he never actually liked pie growing up, but that this is one of the few and rare pies that is so good that he actually loves it. Anyway, in the words of the wonderful Ina Garten, "Who doesn't love pie"? Enjoy.
Recipe: Very Berry Cherry Pie
- 5 cups frozen cherries
- 1 16 oz. bag frozen blueberries
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract (or any other kind to your taste, but I highly suggest you use the almond)
- 1/2 fresh lemon juice squeezed
- 1 pinch zest of orange or tangerine
- 1.5 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 T sugar
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 stick cultured butter at room temperature (use generic unsalted if you can't find it)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick cultured butter at room temperature (or salted regular butter if you can't find it)
- 1/2 tsp salt (only use 1/4 if you use regular salted butter)
- Mix all of the filling ingredients, except for the frozen blueberries, in a sauce pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and comes to a boil. If you walk away for even a second it will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. Once thickened, set aside to rest and cool.
- Mix all crust ingredients together in a food processor until it forms into small balls. Fill a glass with cold water and add some ice and after a minute of allowing the water to chill, slowly pulse the food processor and drip in the cold water until all the ingredients combine together into one large mass. Remove crust from processor and knead it down into a square and wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. The longer you refrigerate it the better, but I find if you leave it overnight it helps to let it warm a bit to room temperature before working it, so it spreads more evenly.
- To make the crumb topping, combine everything into food processor and pulsate until it looks like crumbs. Leave it in the food processor until ready to top the pie and pulse it a few more times before adding it to the top.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- After at least 60 minutes have passed, remove the crust from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface until it is big enough to overlap the sides of the pie pan when filling it. Cut a circle into to the crust around the side of the pie pan so that the crust will fit once you place it in the pie pan.
- Place the crust into the pie pan. I always find it easiest to roll it around my rolling pin, and then unroll it over the pan, helping it fit as evenly as possible. At this point you can use whichever technique you would like on the edges of the pie to make it look good but I prefer pinching (index finger on one hand between the thumb and index finger of the other) or using a fork.
- Add the entire bag of frozen blueberries into the pie pan, layering the bottom of the crust. Add room temperature filling to the top of the blueberries and spread out evenly. Pulse the crumb topping a few more times and then sprinkle it over the pie.
- Bake for 50 - 60 minutes until the crust is golden brown as shown in our photos, and the filling is bubbly.
- Let cool for 30 minutes or longer before serving and enjoy!
Number of servings (yield): 12