Cherry Pie reminds me of Lums Diner in Peoria, hot tea, good friends, and deep conversation. Back in my high school days, my crowd and I would congregate at the the Lums Diner, as years of soul searching, bored, but generally well behaved teenagers had done before us.
This wasn’t your wild crowd, it was filled with quiet rebels. The kind that might get a little crazy discussing a classic novel or simple existential angst over an endless pot of tea or coffee and maybe sit in the smoking section. Gasp. The horror.
Anyhow, one of my favorite Lums menu items of choice was warm cherry pie. It was a time of dear friends, endless conversations, and that first taste of independence that is adolescence.
Tart Cherry Pie Recipe
1/2 c. chilled butter
1/2 c. chilled Spectrum Palm Oil Shortening
3 c. flour
1 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp ice water
1 c. sugar, plus extra for dusting
5 cans tart cherries in water, reserve 1/4 c. of juice
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces for dotting
In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Add butter and shortening cut into little pieces. Use the pulse button to cut butter and shortening into flour until you see no more large pieces. Through the top, pour the water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse until dough is just moist. Move to a floured surface and form a ball. Divide into two equal sections. Wrap in waxed paper and chill at least 30 minutes. Roll out one with a floured rolling pin into a circle. Press into the bottom of a glass pie pan, evening out and smoothing the edge. Roll the other into a circle, then using a sharp knife, cut into 1 inch wide sections to start your lattice.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cherries and juice. In the reserved 1/4 c. of juice, dissolve the cornstarch with a fork. Add cornstarch mixture and heat until bubbling, then simmer 5 min, stirring occasionally with a wooden spatula being sure to scrape the bottom. Add lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375. Pour thickened cherry mixture into prepared pie crust. Use small butter pieces to dot the surface evenly. For the lattice, start on the left side and lay down three of your smaller strips vertically with a 3/4″ gap in between. I like to use 1 piece in from the edge of your circle, skip a piece for the horizontal side, then choose the second strip for your 2nd vertical, skip, then the 3rd piece for your third vertical. Continue all the way across with your vertical strips. Moving back to the strips, skip that outermost edge again and grab your next strip for your first horizontal lattice. I like to start at the top. Start on top of your first vertical, then lift the second vertical from bottom of pie pan to lace underneath. Place on top the third, lace under the fourth, to the edge. Start your second horizontal, and reverse the pattern. Start underneath the first vertical this time, then lift from the bottom to lattice, then over, then under, repeat. Don’t get discouraged! Be patient, this are your hardest two rows coming up, after that it’s smooth sailing. Repeat the pattern until you complete the pie. Dust the top with a spoonful of sugar and and place in oven over a cookie sheet or a piece of aluminum foil to catch drips. Bake an hour, watching crust to keep from browning too much. If it starts to look to brown on the edges, ring in foil and continue baking. Bake until bubbly and golden.