My Aunt Tina is a pie maven. Whether it’s the precariously high architecture of her lemon meringue, or the dense spiciness of her pecan pumpkin, the loveliness of her pies make me wonder if she whispers lullabies to them while they bake. They certainly can’t be that wonderful without some kind of secret intervention.
A few weeks ago my family celebrated my cousin Erica’s birthday, and, in a way, the birthday of her week old son, Jack. Tina brought a wonderful sour cherry pie, that was just heavenly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (though honestly, tell me what isn’t). I immediately harassed her for the recipe, tweaked it a little by adding a touch of rosewater, and there you have it, the perfect early summer pie.
Where I live, cherries and big fat fragrant roses are the first harbinger’s of summer. Bursting with flavor, heady perfume, and luxurious colors, cherries and roses represent the shift from the austere and limited offerings of winter to the sensual overload that is a southern California summer. Together, the ripe, sweet and tart cherries are a delicious counterpoint to the delicate flavor of rosewater. All this is missing is a big scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour (or tapioca starch)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
6-7 cups whole pitted cherries (about 2 pounds whole un-pitted cherries)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rosewater
2 tablespoons cream, plus 1/2 teaspoon rosewater
1/2 recipe pie crust (enough for one disc)
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, butter and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.
Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. I took the trimmings and cut little leaves out of them for the garnish around the edge. Crimp the edge of the dough and brush with cream/rosewater mixture. If using the dough leaves, press the leaves around the edge of the dough, and press down. Brush again with cream/rosewater and top with extra sugar. Pour the filling into the dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center.
Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 50-60 minutes longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.
INGREDIENTS (PIE CRUST)
This is a double crust recipe, you can refrigerate for 3 days or freeze the other one for future use
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup ice water
In a food processor or quickly using your fingertips, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter until the chunks of butter are broken down to the size of peas and the flour feels like wet sand. Add the first 1/4 cup of water and mix until the dough comes together easily. It’s too dry if it immediately clumps apart. Add two tablespoons of water at a time, you can always add more water but not more flour, so careful not to add too much!
Gather the dough into two balls and plop them on top of two sheets of plastic wrap. Loosely wrap up each ball and press down, smooshing the ball into a disc about an inch thick.
Pop them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while you busy yourself with the filling.