Inspired by the Berry Pie Baking Kit I got for Christmas, I decided to make a larger Cherry Pie recipe to make the most of the cherry season (not from my garden unfortunately). If you follow my posts you will know that I have a real penchant for cherries and often freeze them and/or preserve them so that I can extend my enjoyment of the season. I’ll include links to other recipes at the bottom of this post.
I was lazy this time and just used store-bought sweet short pastry but if you have the time and the inclination you can make your own. There is a delicious looking recipe on the New World website for cherry pie with cream cheese pastry that I might try next time. Rather than making a standard closed-in pie, I decided that cherries look so gorgeous that they really deserve to be seen so I went for a lattice top to my pie. I was a bit sad because I’d been keen to use my cute little pie bird.
Pie birds are basically a hollow ceramic device that lets the steam escape from a baking pie, so all the bubbly juices stay inside the crust. These devices have been around since Victorian times and were first called pie funnels (as they were shaped like little ceramic funnels). By the late 1800s, potteries started designing vents just for pies, but then they were called crust supports or crust holders. In addition to preventing the pie juices from boiling over, the funnels helped support the pastry crust so it did not sag in the middle. The first recorded bird shaped pie vent in England was a design by Clarice Cliff in 1936. Pie birds are still being made by a variety of artists and pottery companies, and they are popular as gifts and collectors’ items today. Yes, Pie Bird Collecting is a “thing” – but I’m happy with my one.
You will need:
Pastry of your choosing
1 kg cherries, pitted * I used an olive pitter
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup sugar
Split your pastry into 2 pieces, approximately 1/3:2/3.
Roll out the larger piece on a floured surface until it is the right size to fit your (lightly greased) pie dish. I have a silicon pastry sheet with different sized circles marked on it that makes this task a lot easier.
Lift the pastry over your rolling pin and transfer to the pie dish.
Roll out the rest of the pastry into a rectangular shape the width of your pie dish, and cut into strips for the lattice.
Place half the cherries in a large bowl and crush coarsely with a potato masher. Stir in the corn flour and sugar. Pile cherries into the centre of the pastry, with whole ones on top.
My cherry juice didn’t thicken up with the cornflour when cooked in the pie. So I would in future pour the juice from the crushed cherries into a small saucepan, add the cornflour and sugar and heat until thickened, then add it back to the crushed cherries before putting them in the pie.
Place the pastry strips over the top of the whole cherries, weaving them together to form a lattice pattern.
Bake for 40-45 minutes at 190C or until pastry is golden and cooked and cherries well softened (check before this time as mine took 30-35 minutes).
Other cherry recipes you might like: