Ah, February in New England! Snow, cold, a hint of spring perhaps, then more snow, more cold. We need something to cheer us up—pie, of course!
Even though it’s not anywhere near cherry season, cherry pie is what comes to mind.
We have to honor George Washington, who with boyish enthusiasm used his new hatchet to cut down his father’s favorite cherry tree and then had to tell the truth about it, establishing his character and a legend that has lasted over 200 years.
And February also brings Valentine’s Day, which cries out for a red pie!
Most cherry pies are made with sour cherries, and often with canned sour cherries. I made this one with frozen dark red cherries—like the bing cherries you get in the summer. They’re a beautiful color and make a somewhat sweeter pie than their sour cousins.
The texture of the frozen cherries is excellent.
I have to confess that coming up with Jane’s Pie of the Month can lead to some interesting adventures… you can read about an earlier February cherry-pie experiment in Edible Bloopers!
9-inch unbaked pie crust, plus extra crust for top crust, lattice crust, or pie crust art
5-6 cups (1.40-1.65 liter) frozen cherries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
Place frozen cherries in a large bowl. If time permits, let them thaw for about an hour. This softens them up and helps them absorb the sugar and flour better.
Mix sugar and flour in a small bowl. Pour on fruit and mix to blend. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour into pie crust and spread evenly.
Roll out additional pie crust and place on top of berries. For this pie, I like a lattice crust, but here are some other options:
– Make pie crust art, using cookie cutters or a knife to cut out different shapes and place on top of fruit. If you’re making this pie for Valentine’s Day, decorate it with hearts.
– Make a traditional double-crust pie. Place top crust on fruit and pinch the edges to make a tight a pretty border. Cut some slits in the top to allow steam out.
Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 325°F and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes. Fruit and juices should be bubbling around the edges.
Tips from Jane
– If you don’t have time to thaw frozen cherries, just let them sit in the sugar-flour mixture a bit longer and stir them often to spread the sugar and flour around. If you have some sugar-flour left in the bowl, sprinkle it evenly on top of the fruit.
– You can also make this with fresh cherries. In that case, you’ll have to pit the cherries. Frozen cherries do have certain advantages (particularly in the winter!)
– Since I like to fill my pies with lots of fruit, they sometimes spill over. To protect your oven, place an old baking sheet or some aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven.