First off, I must start by saying how ignorant I was to the fact that today is National Cherry Pie Day. I happen to be a huge fan of cherry pie and I’m not talking about the done in two seconds cherry pie that is made with phyllo dough and a can of cherry pie filling or the kind that comes from the freezer isle by Sara Lee. I’m talking about the delicious and labor intensive homemade version that is made with Bing and Rainier cherries that are hand pitted mixed with spices and baked in a delicious homemade flaky pie crust with lattice top!
I was first introduced to this amazing pie by an optician at the local eye doctor’s where I worked in high school. I had never had homemade cherry pie but as soon as she described it to me I immediately grabbed a pen and wrote down her recipe! Then on my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and purchase the cherries and of course…whipped cream.
The recipe was super easy to follow. One teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon and a quarter cup each sugar and flour to thicken. The most difficult part was pitting the cherries. It was a kind of meditative experience. I stood at my parents’ kitchen sink splitting the cherries and removing the pits while I stared out the window at the blueberry bushes in our backyard. Soon my hands were stained bright red by the cherry juices but I didn’t care I just thought of it as a badge of pride from putting all that time into a delicious dessert for my family.
The first time I made this pie I must admit I did not use a homemade crust because I was just too excited to try it. I poured the very dry mixture of cherries and spices and flour into the crust and then proceeded to weave strips of crust on top to form a lattice pattern. Once the top was completed I crinkled the edges and brushed the crust with an egg wash and sprinkled on some sugar before baking the pie.
Before long the whole house smelt incredible! I couldn’t wait to dig into the pie! I took my chances and cut a slice of pie for myself while it was still piping hot, topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and then of course whipped cream! The first bite was heaven! I love the juxtaposition of ice-cold ice cream with super hot fruit. To me that is the greatest taste in the world!