Originally Posted by CharlieD
Here you cannot get tart cherries, by "here" I mean Minnesota. A neighbor has a tree though, and once in a while if they have had enough of it, they let me pick some. If that happens I like to make cherry preserve/jelly. From then it is used for pies and cakes. But also I use the leaves, they are essential for pickling.
Michigan is the Cherry capitol of the United States. I have a freind that has a Rainier Cherry Tree that produces far more cherries than he can use. He allows me and my wife to pick a batch during the season. They make the best cherry pies and preserves ever. Cherry stands pop up all over the place, especially in the lower peninsula with deep, dark red tart cherries, ans sweet cherries.
When I make a cherry pie, I start with three cups all-purpose flour, an 1 1/2 tsp. salt. I start cutting in lard until the dough looks like pea-gravel. I then add 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tbs. cinnamon. I cut that in, and then add just enough ice water to make the pebbles start sticking together. I divide the dough in half and roll out the first half. I then place that into the deep-dish pie pan, brush with egg-wash, and blind bake for 15 minutes at 350' F. I then make the filling from pitted cherries, sugar, and cornstarch. Add just a little cinnamon to taste. Let cool, then pour that into the pie crust.
While the filling is cooling, roll out the top crust and cut into 1/2 inch strips, the length of the crust. Use these stripes to make a lattice crust on top. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake until the crust is golden brown, let cool and serve with good vanilla ice cream.
The first time I made the crust with sugar and cinnamon worked into the crust, a person told me I was crazy, and that I was ruining the crust. After the pie was baked, and given as a prized at a church function, and the reports came back on its quality, that same person had to admit that I probably knew what I was doing.
We also like to make home-made cherry ice cream, and sherry-chocolate cake.
If you macerate the cherries in sugar, and then strain, you get a wonderful cherry juice that can be used to make cherry punch, cherry flavored frostings, sweet & sour sauce, and cherry panacotta.
Cherry tarts are great, as are cherry covered pancakes. It's all good.
Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North