If you’ve ever eaten a cherry pie, odds are it was made with sour cherries—after all, they’re also known as “pie cherries.” Michigan in particular is known for its delicious sour cherries. But when I opened up shop in New York City, I was pleased to discover that New York State is among the top five producers of sour cherries in the United States. Their season lasts for only a couple of fleeting summer weeks, which is why more than 90 percent of the sour cherry crop in the country is sold frozen. That said, it’s still not easy to find frozen sour cherries at the store, so if you find yourself wanting delicious sour cherry pie for more than two weeks of the year, your best bet is to buy tons of them fresh, pit them yourself, and freeze them to use whenever you get the craving. Lattice crust cherry pie is aesthetic perfection, and also practical because of the super-juicy filling. Consider serving your cherry pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream—a creamy contrast for the tart cherries—on top.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg and sugar with a whisk until smooth. Before baking, brush the surface of the pie(s) with the egg mixture, avoiding the crimped edges and taking care not to allow the egg wash to pool in any recessed areas. Discard any excess egg wash. Bake immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
- In a large bowl, combine the cherries, lemon juice, and almond extract, if using. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, tapioca starch, and salt, making sure that the starch is evenly dispersed. Pour the sugar mixture over the cherries and gently stir to coat. If you’re using frozen fruit, allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes before assembling the pie, and stir before pouring it into the crust. Pour the filling into the bottom crust, making sure to scrape the entire contents from the sides of the bowl into the pie.
- Top the pie with a lattice crust according to the instructions on page 54. Brush the top crust with the egg wash. Place the pie on a baking sheet to collect any juices that bubble over. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake for 40 minutes more, or until the filling has been bubbling for at least 10 minutes.
- Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Reprinted from PIE FOR EVERYONE: Recipes and Stories from Petee's Pie, New York's Best Pie Shop by Petra Paradez. Photos copyright © 2020 by Victor Garzon. Published by ABRAMS.