Thanksgiving always reminds me of my grandma and her pies. I loved my grandma's pies. The dough did not stick to the counter while she rolled out the crust or shrink in the pan when she baked it. The insides didn’t run everywhere when she cut into it. Her pies didn’t taste too sweet. Together, we would pinch the dough all around the dish to scallop the edges, and it was just soft enough and hung over just the right amount.
I am sorry to say that my pies – while usually edible – are not my grandma’s. It’s hard to go wrong with the insides, usually some variation of fruit, sugar, and whiskey. But those crusts! I’ve watched Martha Stewart videos claiming how easy it is. I’ve taken recipe recommendations from people who swear by whatever version of butter and flour they always use. I’ve consulted Google for advice. But then I go to roll it out and even if I get something that I can put in the pan, the taste is usually dull and the consistency a bit like powder.
This year I was determined to make a pie that I wanted to eat. Starting with cherries that I froze while they were in season, a recipe that claimed to resemble a Manhattan cocktail (I love to eat my drinks), and very concerted crust practice.
Pie crusts are now piled in my freezer, and I resorted to making quiche to test them out. I also rewatched Martha Stewart on rolling out the dough and the New York Times video on how to make a lattice crust – twice. And in the end? I have a very pretty pie. I held off from tasting it before Thanksgiving dinner (just barely!), but it looks very promising. And the recipe for the insides sounds delicious enough to drink.
For the crust, I went with the one my mom swears by. And again, she was right – Martha Stewart.
For the lattice top, the New York Times features this tutorial.
And the recipe for inside came from this Food Network recipe. Yes, I Googled cherry pie+bourbon.
Combine the cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Sprinkle with the tapioca and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl and stir in the bourbon, almond extract, and orange bitters. Let cool and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each dough piece on a lightly-floured surface into a 12-inch disk. Gently place one disk into a 9-inch pie pan, letting about an inch hang over all around. Pour the cherry filling into the prepared pie shell. Cut the other disk into strips to form the lattice topping. Fold the bottom crust dough over the edges of the lattice and pinch around the edges to secure. Lightly brush the pastry shell with cream and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place the pie on a larger baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any spills. Bake the pie until the crust is a deep golden brown color and the cherry juices are starting to bubble, 35 to 45 minutes.