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plm555

Cherry Pie With Lattice Top Crust

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Although I consider myself an experienced cook and have made countless pies, I was taught a valuable lesson in my most recent effort -- a cherry pie with a lattice crust.

Things go wrong most often when I'm in a hurry, and this was no exception. I was bringing food to a Christmas Eve dinner. I had to get the pie baked before I put the entree, Julia's Brisket in the oven. The brisket takes 4 hours to bake, I have only one oven, and we were due to arrive at our destination at 2 o'clock, so I had to move quickly.

I made the pastry, cooked the filling and filled the bottom unbaked crust with the filling. Then the "haste makes waste" part caught up with me. Without thinking about what I was doing, I started putting on the lattice crust. If you've never made a lattice crust, it's really not hard to do. You just have to take the pastry strips, one at a time, and place them on top of the filling. You alternate, folding the strips back and forth, to weave them into a lattice.

The problem was that I had not waited for the filling to cool. It was still steaming when I started. That being the case, the pastry strips were so softened by the heat that they wouldn't cooperate. I got some to work, but others just melted into the filling and could not be lifted or moved. Here is a photo of the finished, baked pie:

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Cherry Pie Lattice Crust by texascooking, on Flickr

As things turned out, the cherry pie was excellent. The pastry was tasty and flaky, the filling delicious, and the pie cut like a dream. No problems getting the first piece out, as can often happen with pies. You'll be delighted if you make this pie, but just remember -- don't be in such a hurry that you don't let the filling cool before you put the lattice crust on.

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I never thought about cooling the filling first. Here's what I do.... I make the lattice work on a sheet of Parchment paper and then lay it on a cookie sheet and freeze it. When the pie is ready, just lay it on the pie and bake as usual.

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For the crust: Place the flour, sugar, salt, and frozen cubed butter in a food processor. Pulse the mixture just until the butter & flour look like fine bread crumbs. Turn the processor to on, and slowly drizzle in the ice water until a ball of dough starts to appear in the mixer bowl. Stop the processor - you don't want to overwork the dough. Turn the mix out onto the countertop and form into a ball. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour before rolling out. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Filling:Place cherries in large bowl. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla; pour over cherries and stir to coat. On lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry and fit into 10" (23 cm) deep dish pie plate; pour in cherry filling. Roll out top crust and cut into 1" (2.5 cm) wide strips. Weave strips over filling to form lattice top. Trim pastry and brush some egg wash under each strip where it meets bottom pastry edge; press with a fork to seal. Brush lattice with egg and sprinkle pie with sugar. Bake on baking sheet 15 minutes, then reduce temp to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly and thickened.

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