“The best cherry pie I’ve ever had.” This was what my mom said regarding the cherry pie I made yesterday to represent the state of Michigan.
What’s that? Why a cherry pie to represent Michigan? Well, it just so happens that Michigan is the United States leading producer of tart cherries (they make about 75% of the tart cherries grown in the United States and about 20% of the sweet cherries.). They produce about 250 million pounds of cherries each year! That’s a lot of cherries, which raises another question. How’d they get to be the leading producer?
It all started with a missionary named Peter Dougherty. He had the idea to plant cherry trees in the Traverse City area of Michigan. Everyone told him cherry trees wouldn’t grow that far north. But to their surprise the trees flourished and soon enough many local farmers were producing more than enough cherries. Since the cherries were so popular, demand increased. So more cherry trees were planted and Traverse City was eventually named the cherry capital of the world.
In case you’re confused as to why I made a dessert to represent a state it’s because our challenge this year is to make a different dessert to represent each of the fifty states. We’re calling it the Fifty Sweets Of America. We’re each doing half and today its me, Karenna!
Cherry pie has always been a favorite of mine but this was actually my first time making one myself. I think it turned out very well! The crust was really nice and golden brown (due to the wash of milk before it went into the oven) and the cherries were nice and tart without being too sour. Making this pie was super easy, the only part that proved to be a bit difficult was pitting the cherries. Since I don’t have a cherry pitter I used a tip from ‘Pretty Simple Sweet’ when I was pitting the cherries. The tip was to use a piping tip to push the pit out of the cherry. It worked well once I got the hang of it!
fun fact: Ever since ancient times cherry pits have been used to relieve many ailments such as chest pains and throat irritations.
When making this pie make sure you have a good chunk of time before you plan on eating the pie. While making the pie crust doesn’t take long it needs to cool in the fridge for a good hour before you can continue with the recipe. Also, the pie takes over fifty minutes total in the oven and after baking it must sit for at least 4 hours to cool and let the filling set.
Overall this pie was so good and fairly easy! I would highly recommend making this dessert this summer!
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet your cherries are)
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut in small cubes
1/4-1/2 cup very cold water
- In the food processor, process the flour, salt, and sugar for a few seconds.
- Add the butter and pulse until it looks like course meal.
- Add 1/4 cup of water and pulse until the dough isn’t dry and starts to clump together. (add more water as needed.) do not process to the point where a large ball forms.
- Move the dough to a floured surface and form a ball. (It should come together easily.) Divide the ball in half and flatten each slightly to form a one inch thick disk. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing.
5 cups stemmed and pitted cherries
3/4 cup sugar for sweet cherries/1 cup sugar for sour cherries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for sweet cherries/ 1 1/2 tablespoons for sour cherries
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter cut into small cubes
cream or milk (for brushing the top)
sugar for sprinkling
- Take out the dough and let it sit for a few minutes (for easy rolling). Roll one disk out on a floured surface into a 12 inch circle. Place the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the edges of the dough to fit the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.
- Roll the second disk out in the same way and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover, and place in the fridge.
- In a bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the cherries then add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. mix to combine, then set aside for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F and place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the lower third of the oven.
- Spread the cherry filling over the pie crust in an even layer. Dot with butter on top.
- If you want to do a lattice crust on top use the second crust to do that. Otherwise, take the second crust and place it over the filling. Tuck excess crust under the bottom crust. Crimp the edges with your fingers or a fork. Make four slits on top for the steam to escape. brush the crust with the milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar.
- bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 375F and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
- Let cool for at least four hours so that the filling sets. Then, enjoy!
Sources Used: http://agilewriter.com/History/CherryCapital.htm https://prettysimplesweet.com/cherry-pie/
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