Did you know that Michigan harvests about 75 percent of the cherries produced in the United States?
Well neither did I… until I moved to Michigan.
Lately, I’ve been attempting to settle into my new surroundings in the land of blue and maize. It’s a somewhat daunting task when you have to keep up with a conversation where NYPD isn’t referring to the police but instead a pizza restaurant. I even had a “Five-Year Engagement” moment one weekend when I was at a picnic with Matt where he was discussing the art of conference presentations with his grad student friends. If the reference escapes you, it’s a great romcom about a spouse that follows his fiance to Ann Arbor, after which all sorts of misadventures begin to happen to the couple.
Regardless, I’m beginning to feel like I’m relatively settled in my new location after a month. Ann Arbor (or should I say A2) has a great little market called the Produce Station that I’ve frequented to get some locally grown fruit. Last time I was there, I picked up some Michigan cherries and decided that I would try my hand at making a pie. This was my attempt at doing something “Michigan-like” over the weekend.
This pie is a cinch to make, and it comes together rather quickly. The only part that will take some time is pitting the cherries. Make sure you wear some dark colored clothing so you don’t stain anything you’re wearing. Although Matt and I ate about 3/4 of the pie, I brought some of the leftovers into work. Considering it disappeared rather quickly, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll be happy if you give this pie a try.
Sweet Cherry Pie
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 prepared pie crusts
4 cups pitted fresh cherries
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
Coarse sugar, for decoration
Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir together the cherries, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl. Gently place one prepared pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges to a half-inch overhang. Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter. Drape the second pie crust over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the egg wash over pie crust, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.
Heather’s Helpful Hints
For quick clean up, bake your pie on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil. This way any of the filling that spills over can be easily cleaned up at the end.